cover image The Baby and Fly Pie

The Baby and Fly Pie

Melvin Burgess. Simon & Schuster, $16 (184pp) ISBN 978-0-689-80489-2

Shortlisted for England's Carnegie Medal for children's fiction, this stark and steely novel has lots of taut action but no silver lining. Three ""rubbish kids,"" throwaways in a grimy and lawless London of the future, stumble on a kidnapped baby whose ransom is set at 17 million pounds. Expecting they can get a reward for returning baby Sylvie to her rich parents, Jane, Sham and Fly Pie cart the baby from violent trash heap to teeming slum, thinking of a plan to save both the baby and themselves from a pitiful life on the run. Burgess's alarmingly drawn future England of orphans, rags, desperation and gangs is compelling, but one in which Oliver Twist and even Fagan would fear to tread. The undercurrent of commentary on the dubious future of England may be lost on all but the most sophisticated of American YA readers. Ages 12-up. (May)