You will read this in gulps. Your eyes will sparkle. You will dream of London. A girl who sweeps chimneys, a ragtag crew of orphan boys, a Scrooge-like boss, and a monster… but is he really? Your copy of this family read will wear out from rereading it again and again. --Marilyn
— From Middle Grade
About the Author
Jonathan Auxier is the New York Times bestselling author of The Night Gardener, Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard, and Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes, which the Wall Street Journal called “as delightful a magical story as readers . . . will hope to find.” He lives in Pittsburgh with his family.
"Auxier wipes away the grime from a bleak chapter in history, where children were forced to work dangerous jobs that claimed many lives. He questions what makes one a monster and applauds helping others, activism, education, earthly marvels, and the possibility of magic. Nan’s fiery personality will attract readers like moths, and Auxier's unusual blend of mythology and history will keep them transfixed."
"This dazzling, warmhearted novel contemplates selflessness and saving, deep love and what makes a monster."
— Publishers Weekly
"Auxier (The Night Gardener, 2014, etc.) turns his imaginative whimsy and lyrical prose to a real historical horror; while never gratuitous, he does not shy away from the appalling conditions under which children labor, nor does he ignore the sacrifices and struggle to abolish the practice. The inclusion of two (possibly three) Jewish characters suggests the intertwining of anti-Semitism and class exploitation, while references to such authors as William Blake, Daniel Defoe, and Mary Shelley demonstrate how literature could fire imaginations and highlight oppression."
— Kirkus Reviews
"The novel doesn’t inch from the difficulties of life for poor and orphaned children in nineteenth-century London, but its dominant tone is one of warmth . . . This bittersweet coming-of-age tale will leave readers with the notion that even young people can make a difference when they raise their voices about issues they care about."
— The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Weaving together strands of Jewish folklore (Nan calls Charlie a “soot golem”), Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience, Shelley’s Frankenstein, the history of child-labor reform, and his own threads of magical realism, Auxier crafts a beautiful, hopeful story out of some ugly realities of nineteenth-century British life."
— Horn Book Magazine
"Jonathan Auxier weaves a magical spell that draws readers right into the stark, gritty streets of Victorian London . . . Readers will be entranced."
— School Library Connection
"A stunning historical fantasy novel about the power of friendship, our potential for courage, and the beauty of remembering loved ones . . . Excellent writing and skillful integration of historical fact with compelling characters make this a must-buy."
— School Library Journal