I very luckily got a signed ARC of this book at ALA. After reading a few real sad YA books, I was ready for some forest creature time. This story started out grim with the Wonderling not even having a name. He is called 13 at his yucky orphanage.
In this world, there are humans, regular animals, and human/animal hybrids named “groundlings.” Groundlings can speak and act like people, but they have some physical characteristics of animals. They walk upright and wear clothing, but might have a tail, fur, feathers, wings, ears, beak, or snout of an animal. However, Groundlings speak like humans, and can’t talk to normal animals. It’s complicated.
You’ve kind of a Dickensonian Footloose theme going on where music is against the rules. Once he leaves the orphanage he hears music everywhere and that’s sweet and fun.
This is just beautifully written and its long- which I liked.
Also, for all you homeschoolers that have read the classics, there is a ferryman named Norahc, which of course is just Charon spelled backward. ( I love that kind of thing)
Translated from German: The Wunderling By Mira Bartok September 29, 2017