Author: Jones, Rob Lloyd
Wild Boy, covered in hair from head to toe, is kidnapped and forced into a life of being a sideshow freak during the Victorian era and must use his Sherlock Holmes-like deductive skills to exonerate himself from being suspected of murder.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.60
Points: 8.0 Quiz: 161355
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 6-8
Reading Level: 3.80
Points: 14.0 Quiz: 61974
Kirkus Reviews (07/15/13)
School Library Journal (10/01/13)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (A) (00/11/13)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 09/01/2013 Wild Boy, covered in straggly brown hair, is a sideshow circus freak with Sherlockian powers of deduction. On the lam after being unfairly accused of murder, he and his acrobat-cum-pickpocket friend, Clarissa, begin their own investigation through the gritty, smoky streets of Victorian London. From a gross anatomy lab (including a memorably gruesome scene involving toppled shelves of preserved body parts) to the Tower of London, their search gradually leads them to a secret cabal of scientists intent on building a miraculous machine that corrals the newly discovered power of electricity to perform grotesque experiments. Lloyd Jones cunningly reveals clues as the sympathetic Wild Boy gets closer to discovering the identity of the killer and closer to making a difficult decision: Will he turn in the killer and see justice done? Or will he use the powerful machine to get what he always wanted: to look like a normal boy? Although an abundance of characters and occasionally stilted dialects may confuse younger readers, Lloyd Jones has nonetheless crafted a thrilling mystery, full of morbid twists and macabre turns. - Copyright 2013 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 10/01/2013 Gr 5–8—Sherlock Holmes meets Oliver Twist in this mystery set in a carnival of oddities in 1841 London. A boy moves from a wretched workhouse to Augustus T. Finch's traveling carnival, hoping to belong somewhere. Feared and reviled because thick hair covers his entire body, the child knows only the name "Wild Boy." This hirsute hero assuages his loneliness by observing passersby, analyzing minute clues to peel back details of their lives. Wild Boy and another circus child, Clarissa, become involved in a mystery of their own when a hooded man murders carnival member and eccentric scientist Henry Wollstonecraft over his curous "machine." Framed for the crime, Wild Boy must use his detective skills to clear his name, but he becomes even more invested when he learns the machine might be able to make him look "normal." Jones explores the traditional themes of acceptance and identity. Wild Boy comes to accept his knack for detective work and faces a choice between honoring his friendship with Clarissa and personal gain. The mystery unravels along well-trodden paths. As soon as Wild Boy tells the audience that he trusts a certain character above all others, savvy readers will guess at that character's guilt. While many novels express with greater originality the theme of coming to terms with society's judgments, this one may appeal to children who like unusual characters and quirky historical settings in their detective stories.—Caitlin Augusta, Stratford Library Association, CT - Copyright 2013 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.