Mango and Bambang: The Not-a-Pig

Mango and Bambang: The Not-a-Pig by Polly Faber and Clara Vulliamy is a delightful little book, filled with stories about a girl called Mango Allsorts and Bambang, an Asian tapir. Mango is a brave, clever, talented girl, but she is also lonely.  It is while she is walking through town one day that she sees a commotion and goes to the aid of Bambang.  Mango and Bambang become the best of friends and have lots of interesting adventures together. The stories are a joy to read and they’re very funny.  I love Clara Vulliamy’s illustrations, which bring Mango and Bambang to life in shades of black, white and purple.  The book is beautifully presented too, in hard-cover with gold foil and purple page edges.

These are two characters that children (especially girls) will fall in love with.  Hopefully there will be more Mango and Bambang stories to look forward to.  Grab a copy of Mango and Bambang: The Not-a-Pig and introduce your children to two new friends.

Here is a video of Polly and Clara talking about how they created Mango and Bambang:

Elf Girl and Raven Boy: Fright Forest

Marcus Sedgwick is one of my favourite writers of Young Adult fiction.  Blood Red Snow White would have to be in my list of all-time favourite books.  In recent years he has started writing younger fiction (for 8-12 year olds), with his Raven Mysteries series (illustrated by Pete Williamson).  The first book in his great new younger fiction series, Elf Boy and Raven Girl: Fright Forest, has just been released.

Raven Boy has short black spiky hair, amazing night vision and can talk to animals. Elf Girl is light of foot, sharp of mind and…elfish all over. She hadn’t expected to meet Raven Boy; it’s not that often someone falls out of the trees and squashes your home flat like Raven Boy did.

Before they know it they are plunged into some very strange, creepy, altogether spooky and hilarious adventures as they save their world from trolls, ogres, witches and things that slither and slide in the fiendish forest.

Fright Forest is a fun-filled story, with quirky characters that kids will love.  Elf Girl and Raven Boy are very different from each other, but they join forces to find out who is destroying their home.  Raven Boy has a habit of eeping like a raven when he’s scared and Elf Girl’s ears go red at the tips when she’s embarrassed.  Elf Girl and Raven Boy aren’t actually their real names and they have seem to have a lot of fun trying to guess each others real names. At the beginning of each chapter we learn something new about the characters or the place that they live, like the fact that Raven Boy is really good at climbing or that Elf Girl loves shoes.  They meet some rather strange characters on their journey, including a helpful rat, some hungry trolls and a very bad witch, and find themselves in some very awkward situations.  I love illustrated novels for younger children and Pete Williamson’s illustrations are fantastic. They match the tone of Marcus’ story perfectly. They’re a little bit dark and spooky, but very funny as well, especially the illustrations of the trolls.

Elf Girl and Raven Boy is perfect for 8-12 year olds who love adventure, a touch of magic, or just a really funny story.  I think the series would be especially great for those girls who don’t like fairy books or boys who want something more than Captain Underpants.  For those children who love series, there are five more Elf Girl and Raven Boy stories to come too.

4 out of 5 stars