In 1870s London, a ten-year-old orphan girl, Birdie AcAdam, becomes the apprentice to Alfred, who traps monsters for a living.Birdie lures the bogles out of their lairs with her sweet songs, and Alfred kills them before they kill her. On the mean streets of Victorian England, hunting bogles is actually less dangerous work than mudlarking for scraps along the vile river Thames (see glossary!).
In an alternate United Kingdom, King Snodd aims to control the world by controlling magic, and only sixteen-year-old Jennifer Strange, acting manager of an employment agency for sorcerers, stands between Snodd and his plans.
When authorities threaten to take Sophie, twelve, from Charles who has been her guardian since she was one and both survived a shipwreck, the pair goes to Paris to try to find Sophie’s mother, and they are aided by Matteo and his band of “rooftoppers.”
Stanley Potts’s uncle Ernie has developed an over-the-top fascination with canning fish in the house, and life at 69 Fish Quay Lane has turned barmy. But there’s darkness in the madness, and when Uncle Ernie’s obsession takes an unexpectedly cruel turn, Stan has no choice but to leave. As he journeys away from the life he’s always known, he mingles with a carnival full of eccentric characters and meets the legendary Pancho Pirelli, the man who swims in a tank full of perilous piranhas.
Escaping the aunt who wants to adopt only one of them, two orphaned brothers run away from Hamburg to Venice, finding shelter with a gang of street children and their leader, the thirteen-year-old “Thief Lord,” while also eluding the detective hired to return them to Germany.
When Lord Cucuface, head of Madeline’s school, takes a telescope from the attic during a surprise inspection, its ghostly owner convinces Madeline to help get it back, with help from neighbor Pepito and her fellow orphans.
An African-American Jewish boy traces his ancestry with the help of the Love Bird of Paris.
In the early 1900s, two cousins leave their Russian shtetl with the rest of their family to come to America, hopeful that they will all pass the dreaded inspection at Ellis Island.
In the seedy underworld of Victorian London, a boy is born and abandoned. Snatched up by an unscrupulous and abusive showman, Wild Boy, covered in hair from head to toe, becomes a sideshow freak. Isolated from other children and wickedly abused by the cruel master who bought him, Wild Boy becomes an avid observer, developing Sherlock Holmes–like deductive skills. Although he is tormented and insulted, kicked and spat at, his quick mind takes in everything he sees. When a murder occurs at the fair, Wild Boy is hastily accused. Can he use his powers of deduction to save himself? And will the talented and spunky young acrobat Clarissa be with him — or against him?
Eel, an orphan, and his best friend Florrie must help Dr. John Snow prove that cholera is spread through water, and not poisonous air, when an epidemic sweeps across their London neighborhood in 1854.