Thursday, September 3, 2015

Mango and Bambang: The Not-a-Pig (Book 1) by Polly Faber and Clara Vulliamy (Walker Books)

Meet Mango, a rather cool and wonderfully kind little girl whose world is about to change thanks to a rather exotic new friend. He's not a pig though so what is he? Come on inside and find out more...
Polly Faber and Clara Vulliamy are celebrating the launch of a fantastic collaboration today and we've been very very lucky to take a look at their book. "Mango and Bambang: The Not a Pig" is book one in a (hopefully HUGE) series of adventures for a plucky little girl with a heart of gold, and a rather odd looking chap. But what is he?

Bambang is a Tapir, A Malaysian Tapir to be precise and the two meet when Mango Allsorts spots a grand kerfuffle in town one day. There's a huge commotion and tons of traffic, beeping horns and lots of angry people gathered around something strange - an odd lumpy bumpy shape lying in the middle of a zebra crossing. It's not a zebra though, it's Bambang who is cowering in fear and definitely does not want to move.

With some gentle coaxing and expert defusing of very silly people, Mango gently whispers words of encouragement to Bambang who follows Mango home, lured by the promise of banana pancakes (well, who wouldn't be swayed by something as yummy as that) and thus begins a lovely little quartet of adventures as Bambang adjusts to life in the big city, with a lot of help from this resourceful little girl.

Bambang and Mango - Fine friends indeed!

We rather love the format of this book, a similar format to Shirley Hughes and Clara Vulliamy's excellent "Dixie O'Day" books - giving you four bite-sized stories that can be polished off in one delicious sitting, or read over the course of a few bedtimes. We opted for the former (because we're big booky greedy guts and couldn't wait to find out what happens!) and it's a fantastic book indeed. Mango Allsorts is our sort of girl, she might not be the world's best cook, she might be only marginally good at Karate but she's absolutely wonderful at dealing with dozy adults and - in the case of one in particular - rather nasty ones. Every story needs a villain, and Cynthia Prickle-Posset - a beehive-updo waspish-glasses neighbour has evil designs on Bambang becoming a permanent part of her exotic collection. We have a feeling that Mango and Bambang's brush with Cynthia won't be their last!

So there's danger, excitement, friendship, groovy hats, swimming and musical interludes packed between the covers of this diminutive and beautiful little purple-clad book, and children who have absolutely no idea what a Tapir is will certainly know a lot more about these fascinating animals once they get to know Bambang a little better (we really had no idea that Tapirs have three toes on their back feet and four toes on their front feet - How cool is that!)

Polly and Clara are an awesome team and we can't wait to see more from Mango and Bambang soon!

Charlotte's favourite bit: Mango and Bambang's trip to the swimming pool (SUCH a spot on observation about little old clockwork ladies swimming mechanically along in the slow lanes!) and the exciting but scary bits with Cynthia Prickle-Posset.

Daddy's Favourite bit: A plucky and awesome new girl character, a fantastic and wonderful animal friend and all sorts of adventures as Mango and Bambang's friendship grows. Can't wait for more!

(Kindly sent to us for review by Walker Books)

"Mango and Bambang: The Not-A-Pig (Book 1)"

Written by Polly Faber

Illustrated by Clara Vulliamy

Published by Walker Books

Release Date (Hardback): 3rd September 2015