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The Wonderling by Mira Bartók - what did your child think?

(19 Posts)
SorchaMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 29-Sep-17 11:50:49

Looking for a great new book for your child? Introducing magical new adventure The Wonderling that will leave readers aged nine years and up with a head full of wonder and heart full of song. Find out more about the author and the book now.

Welcome to the home for wayward and misbegotten creatures, run by the evil Miss Carbunkle, a cunning villainess, who believes her terrified young charges exist only to serve and suffer.

For the Wonderling, an innocent, one-eared 'groundling' – a mix of fox and boy – the Home is all he has ever known. But with the help of young bird groundling Trinket, the two escape and embark on an extraordinary quest, down the path of The Wonderling's true destiny.

We ask all winners to share their child's thoughts on the book. Everyone who posts their detailed feedback by midday, Friday 1 December will be entered into a prize draw to win a £100 Love2shop voucher.

Buy the book on Amazon

This giveaway is sponsored by Walker Books

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MummyBtothree Mon 02-Oct-17 10:20:52

Sounds fab smile fingers crossed 🍀

BetterEatCheese Tue 10-Oct-17 22:38:26

Looks amazing!!

katb1973 Thu 26-Oct-17 23:14:47

What a gift! This book was beautiful both in the reading and in the artwork. The main character of the story, Arthur (No. 13) is a groundling-half human/half animal destined to live out his days in a bleak, cruel orphanage run by Miss Carbunkle the archetypal vicious owner. With the arrival of Trinket, Arthur finds a name, his first true friend and the bravery to break out of the orphanage. Thus starts their adventure to thwart Miss Carbunkle and escape their destiny. There's something very familiar about this story but also completely different to what's been written in the past. You can see flashes of Oliver Twist, Wind in the Willows and even The Witches but it's completely unique as well. My 10 year old adored it and has spent today, starting it all over again. One thing though, the language is rich and complicated. Definitely encourage your child to look up the words they won't know, it increased my vocabulary substantially and would probably really suit reading the book together. An amazing gift for keen readers 10-14 for Christmas. Buy it's going to be a classic!

nornironlady Tue 31-Oct-17 14:09:54

I was over the moon when I opened the parcel and discovered this charming book. Although my DN and I haven't made a lot of progress I think it's going to be great as we are already enjoying the little bit we have read. The start reminded us a lot of a previous book we got from Mumsnet - A place called Perfect. Some words are a little much for a 9yo but a joy to read and learn together.

NambiBambi Mon 06-Nov-17 20:44:15

Thank you for the copy of this book. My 10 year-old dd had read a review of it and thought it sounded scary so it took a while to convince her to try it. It certainly does look beautiful and the illustrations are touching, skilful and atmospheric. I do wish there were more of them, however, as the book is very long and the pictures rather sparse.

My daughter (who is a book addict) didn't get far with this book which is unusual for her. She said she found it sad. I read the whole book and saw what she meant. Obviously the main character, Arthur the Wonderling, has to go through trying and unhappy times in order to win through and get to his own happy ever after but there is a lot of almost unrelenting misery and as it is a long story it just felt too much at times. I think a shorter, more concise story might have worked better. Both my dd and I felt a little frustrated with Arthur as the story went on and he seemed to drift along and be very pensive without much action of his own volition. He makes good friends but I don't always think these are very rounded characters and at times they feel a little too self-consciously sketched. They feel like Characters with a capital C.

The story is set in a sort of dystopian world a little like ours but with sort of animal-human hybrids called Groundlings who are second-class citizens or perhaps are meant to represent an enslaved ghetto community. The disparity in their treatment and the world order does not seem to be fully resolved but, along with some other loose ends, this might be addressed in a sequel. Even so, there was a sense at the end that there was still a lot of loss and sadness in the world, that hated and persecution will endure, but that life goes on with some joys, hope and love. I assume this is intentional and reflective of life itself but personally I found the darkness at the end rather too over-shadowing. I can see that many children and adults might enjoy this book and I hope there is a follow-up so that the story can continue where threads have been left; however, it just wasn't our sort of story in this house.

Reastie Thu 16-Nov-17 12:48:41

Thank you mn for the book. When I first opened it it looked absolutely stunning, beautiful cover.

I read the book to dd as a bedtime story and we have both really enjoyed it. It's a bit strange and mythical but totally transported us away for our bedtime story half hour each day to another world. Dd especially loved the illustrations through the book she has also started to pretend she's half animal half human .

Quite a wordy book (and long, which might put some children off) but a really good story that builds up an imaginary world with layers within it and very well written.

weezamummy Mon 20-Nov-17 23:22:47

Thank you so much for this book. From the minute my daughter clapped her eyes on it she was excited by it. Riveted from the first page, she has found the story engaging and got quite immersed in it. Brilliant.

SuzCG Tue 21-Nov-17 10:01:44

OMG - I am absolutely in love with this book! Thank you so much for my copy. For starters it is the most physically beautiful childrens book I have held in my hands in a very long time - a hefty book with lovely, detailed illustrations - a real book to treasure! It is a meaty book with some quite complicated language at times so definitely for the older/more competent reader (my son is 11, looked a few words up he didn't understand - but truly adored this book). Yes, it's a bit dark in places with some unsavoury characters - but isn't that life? To me it just felt look a children classic of old with heroes and villains. But underlying it all, really sound morals and full of hope that better days are out there for everyone if we just find the beautiful people and things in our world. No 13 who becomes our hero 'Arthur' is such a loveable character and you are whisked along on this fantasy adventure through this strange, mythical & magical world as his destiny unfolds. For me and my son we agree this is a real classic of the future. I volunteer in the library at my childrens school and I cannot wait to start talking to the children about this book - we have in the past shared copies of books we have been lucky enough to review but my son won't part with this one, it's a keeper! Seriously, a 4.9/5 from us!!

ren999 Thu 23-Nov-17 16:09:25

I won this book as a gift for my niece and it was so much nicer than I expected. The picture does not do it justice! Its a beautiful hardback book and printed on great quality paper. The front cover and pictures are absolutely stunning. Although we have not read it yet as it will be a Christmas present for my niece my teenage daughter had a skin read through it and said that it sounds really good and interesting. Thank you Mumsnet for my win!!!

cordelia16 Fri 24-Nov-17 10:30:49

Thank you MN for this beautiful book! My 10yo son has been looking for a long story that he and I can read together, so we will start this over the Christmas holidays when we don't have to rush. The illustrations are stunning... and we both like stories that deal with friendships and quests and fulfilling dreams, so I think we'll both love this one!

cavylover Sat 25-Nov-17 14:51:01

Very good fantasy adventure with some scary moments which would suit older children. Excellent illustrations throughout and the front cover particularly stands out. Would make a good Christmas read.

Kidsathome Wed 29-Nov-17 12:01:37

My son is 11 and a reluctant reader, however he immediately got into this book. The attractive cover got him intrigued and he is really enjoying the story, he’s not got far but is eager to find out more. I’m looking forward to reading it with my 7 year old next.

lorka Wed 29-Nov-17 12:41:57

My daughter is 11 and is not keen on reading so we have decided to read this together. It is a lovely illustrated book and so far we are both enjoying this adventure story. We can't wait to see how it ends.

matildasmama Wed 29-Nov-17 15:40:02

So pleased to have received this book as it looked wonderful. It looks like a traditional fairytale book with beautiful illustrations. My 13 year old nephew loves the story so far. His favourite character is “Trinket”. She is funny and inventive. The characters are very well written & the plot is heartwarming & unusual. He is racing through it & is looking forward to finding out what happens in the end!

boo2410 Wed 29-Nov-17 21:06:31

I won this book and am going to give it to my 12 year old niece. When the book arrived I was impressed by how big it was, as when I was young I rarely had a book this big to read. Because the cover was so beautiful I flicked through the pages and I was so pleased to see lovely illustrations.

So, of course, as I'm not seeing my niece until the middle of December now I decided to read it first myself! I've not yet finished it but I'm loving Arthur and Trinket and the story is so beautifully written as soon as I pick the book up and dip in again I'm back in their world. That, to me, is the sign of a good book. I can't wait to see how it ends.

To sum it up, I think it's an absolutely lovely book that would be great to read with a child so that you can talk together about what might happen next. And it's a brilliant book for the more competent reader to read alone.

Thank you Mumsnet for sending me a copy of this book as it's unlikely that I would ever have known about it, and that would have been a great shame.

MrsBee77 Fri 01-Dec-17 18:39:59

Thank you Mumsnet for this book.

The first thing that struck me was that it really is beautiful - I couldn't stop looking at the front cover! The illustrations inside are also really lovely - not often found in a book of this level these days.

I couldn't decide whether this would be most suitable for my 12 year old daughter or 10 year old son - both very keen readers - so I am reading it first!

I haven't finished it yet but it's definitely the type of story my daughter will enjoy - fantasy/adventure/dystopia and a degree of darkness!
I think I will read it together with my son as it might be a little grown-up in places for him so we can talk about teh story as we go through.

I can't wait to see how the story ends!

SorchaMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 05-Dec-17 12:41:54

Thanks folks for your feedback on The Wonderling - we'll pass on your thoughts about the recommended age to the publisher.

The winner of the £100 voucher is... @NambiBambi! Congratulations - do look out for an email smile

thriftymrs Tue 02-Jan-18 14:14:28

Thank you, Mumsnet, for this lovely book. Firstly, the cover is beautifully drawn which was an instant "hit" in our house with the DDs who immediately wanted to read it. The book is further illustrated throughout with lovely drawings. We are taking it in turns to read sections from the book and I would say this is perfect for able readers, maybe from age 8 upwards depending on ability, and it's also a lovely story to read aloud. Perfect for evenings and rainy days. We are about half way through. Arthur and Trinket are great characters and the story flows very well with enough excitement and intrigue to keep the reader hooked. Highly recommended.

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