- Mango & Bambang: The Not-a-Pig
- written by Polly Faber
- illustrated by Clara Vulliamy
- published by Candlewick Press (2016)
- Roar Score: 4/5
In my house, we’re all about series at the moment. If a book has a sequel or is part of a multibook series, my kids will gobble it up. So it wasn’t surprising when they took to the charming Mango & Bambang right away.
The good news is that this book is the first of a trilogy that came out in the UK last year. However, Candlewick is publishing them here in the States, and so far they’ve only released the first one. We’re patient, but I’d be lying if I said we weren’t anxiously champing at the bit for Books 2 and 3.
The story follows young Mango Allsorts, who “was good at all sorts of things. That was not the same as being good, but she was that, too. Most of the time.”
And if you don’t agree that Mango Allsorts is just about the best new character name you’ve ever heard, then I’m afraid we can’t be friends.
In any case, Mango is a tough little “nearly black belt in karate” who has no time for your foolishness. She a brash, independent, no-nonsense kind of girl who knows what she wants and goes out to get it.
And then one day she happens upon a lost tapir (yes, a tapir) that is also very frightened. Rescuing him from a mob that’s convinced it’s a mutant sewer pig, Mango coaxes the tapir home with the promise of banana pancakes. And in that moment, Mango realizes that she wants – no, she needs – that tapir (named Bambang) in her life. They become insta-besties.
The book is told over four loosely-connected chapters that relate to Mango and Bambang’s adventures in the city. Bambang goes swimming, puts on a hat, and sings a little ditty.
As I said, the story is utterly charming. There’s just no other word that’s more appropriate. Faber’s story and Vulliamy’s art – which, again, is downright charming with its two-tone depictions of Mango and Bambang – create a package that just feels…comfortable.
Honestly, the book feels as if it could have been written in the 50s, and I mean that in the best possible way. If you’re a fan of the Madeline, Eloise, or George and Martha books, you’ll feel right at home here.
Mango & Bambang will give you all kinds of warm fuzzies.
(Disclosure: Candlewick Press provided me with a review copy of this book. All opinions remain my own.)