ISBN 9781770863088 | 5.375″ x 8″ | TPB | $12.95 | Age: 9-12 | 240 pp
ISBN 9781770863095 | EBOOK | $9.99

Category: Novels
Curriculum: Character EducationFamily, Friendship, Responsibility, Self-Esteem | Language ArtsAdventure, Fantasy



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Urgle is not a good hunter; he’s not good at much of anything, particularly being a big brother to Cubby. But he has no family to fall back on: Urgle and Cubby live among the Brothers of the Ikkuma Pit.

One by one, generations of boys have been abandoned as babies by their mothers to fend for themselves in the Pit. They spend their lives struggling to survive in an all-boys village. They don’t know what lies outside the Pit, because no one has ever ventured out and returned to tell about it. Until now.

When a brother from the past comes back to Ikkuma, the group wants to know what he has seen since he left, and what he knows about why they have all been abandoned. But then Cubby goes missing. Urgle organizes a search party to find him, and the boys realize they’re going to learn first-hand what the outside world is like. Are they prepared to learn the true story behind their exile?

Fast-paced and emotionally gripping, Urgle is the first book in Meaghan McIsaac’s Brothers of the Ikkuma Pit series.

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Shortlisted for the 2015 Manitoba Young Readers’ Choice Award
Shortlisted for the 2014 Sunburst Award (Young Adult)


“An ambitious novel which should impress epic fantasy enthusiasts thoroughly … an excellent read perfectly suited for middle grade audiences. Recommended.”
CM Magazine

“A fast-moving, sometimes heartbreaking adventure with enough vicious creatures and action to keep readers entertained, while imparting a subtle message that no one should be judged without having a chance to prove him- or herself.”
Quill and Quire

“An intriguing story … McIsaac has a knack for creating multi-dimensional characters; Urgle in particular is well drawn. The action is fast-paced and will keep readers engaged.”
– The National Reading Campaign


Cubby always got his way. Not because he should, but because he wouldn’t stop pushing. Ever. Not until he’d made me as mad as he could.

I glared at the field of Hotpots stretched out before us, pools of molten lava glowing an ember red. I fought the urge to toss the kid in and be done with him.

From somewhere, a voice sniggered, “Goin’ to hunt them big bad Slag Cavies, Urgs?”

Two grubby Brothers were squatted over a small Hotpot not far off — Fiver and Wasted. Fiver was sneering, pleased with what he considered a good joke, his thin lips spread across his fat face while his Little Brother Wasted stifled his laughter, heating up some pebbles for a game of Whip It. My cheeks burned. It had to be Fiver who watched me lose an argument to my Little Brother. All my life, I’ve gotten on okay with everyone. I’m certainly nobody’s favourite person, not like Av — everybody loves Av — I’m just sort of there. But for Fiver, I was too there … and it bothered him.

“Those junk rodents aren’t bad practice,” he went on. “You just keep at it. Maybe this’ll be the year you finally make the Hunting Party.”

At that, Wasted could contain himself no longer, and exploded with wheezy laughter.

“Yeah, keep it up, you two,” warned Av. “Urgs has come a long way with a spear. You’ll see.”

I hadn’t. I had terrible aim, bad eyesight, poor hearing, and I was slow. The exact opposite of the Brothers in the Hunting Party. No matter how much Av practised with me in the Landfill, I never got any better at hunting.

“Oh, I bet,” laughed Fiver. “From what I’ve seen, Urgs, you’re gonna need a lot more help than even Av can give you.”

I clenched my jaw and spat. Fiver was right. At the rate I was going, I’d never make the Hunting Party before my Leaving Day.

“Remember,” said Fiver, “you keep the sharp part of the spear pointed away from you.”

Wasted’s laughter turned into a fit of hysterics, and I couldn’t tell if the rumble vibrating my chest was the rumble of the fire mountains or my own wild fury bubbling up inside.

Cubby stepped out in front of me and Av, his filthy face wearing a new scowl, this one for Fiver. “He knows how to hunt!”

Just what I needed. My Little Brother fighting my battle for me. I swallowed the groan rising in my throat.

Fiver’s beady, dark eyes narrowed on little Cubby, his mouth oozing into a fatter grin. “Never even had a chance. Poor little scroungee.”

“Hey!” barked Av.

I watched Cubby; his voice had caught in his throat, and his mouth hung open, trembling.

One word, and it was like Fiver had punched us both in the face. Scroungees were Brothers who could only scavenge the junk piles in the Landfill for food, Brothers who couldn’t hunt because their Big Brother was a useless lump who couldn’t teach them how.

I grabbed Cubby’s bony shoulder and pulled him in behind me. “What did you just call him?”

“I know a scroungee when I see one. That one’s a scroungee.”

“What’s your problem, Fiver?” said Av.

Cubby was close to tears, but Fiver had meant the insult for me more than him, and he’d gotten the rise he wanted.

“That’s it!” I growled, throwing my pack to the ground and advancing on Fiver.

Av leaped out in front of me, trying to calm me down, but Fiver was on his feet, waiting for the brawl, his amused sneer begging me to let him have it.

“Relax,” said Av. “He wants this, Urgs. Come on, it’s getting late.”

“It won’t take me long,” I said through gritted teeth. In fact, I was ready to let Av talk me out of it; Fiver was easily a foot taller than me, weighed about as much as two of me, was stronger and faster. I didn’t stand a chance.

I felt a tugging at my arm — Cubby. “Did you hear that?” he whispered, his wide eyes staring up at the treeline of Nikpartok Forest, the dense wood that surrounded the Ikkuma Pit.

“What?” asked Av.

“I heard something.”

Teacher’s Guide


About the Author

McIsaac, Meaghan - was born and raised in Oakville, Ontario. She briefly lived in the UK, where she completed her MA in Writing for Children, and now lives in Toronto. (read more)

Books by the Author

Urgle - Meaghan McIsaac
ISBN 9781770863088 | 5.375" x 8" | TPB | $12.95 | Age: 9-12

Shortlisted for the 2015 Manitoba Young Readers' Choice Award

Urgle is not a good hunter; he’s not good at much of anything, particularly being a big brother to Cubby. But he has no family to fall back on: Urgle and Cubby live among the Brothers of the Ikkuma Pit. When Cubby goes missing. Urgle organizes a search party to find him, and the boys learn first-hand what the outside world is like. (read more)

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