Mango and Bambang: The Not-a-Pig, by Polly Faber, illustrated by Clara Vulliamy
first U.S. edition published in 2016 by Candlewick Press
Mango Allsorts is a charming new heroine. With her love of chess and karate, and a knack for making yummy buttered noodles, you can see immediately that she’s an interesting, lively person. Yet Mango defies the categories young girls are often squeezed into in contemporary fiction which makes her extra-compelling. She charmed the socks off of me in a very few moments.
She’s got spunk, but it’s quieter spunk. She’s got pluck, but it’s exceedingly polite pluck. She’s brave, but not brash, with an empathetic heart and a willingness to move as slowly and patiently as required to set Nervous Individuals at ease.
The Nervous Individual in this case is a small, slightly-disoriented, tapir. A lost tapir named Bambang who finds himself caught up in the noise and bustle of a strange city. Rescued by Mango, lured to her home with a promise of banana pancakes, Bambang becomes Mango’s dear friend.
Making a Malaysian tapir at home in her neighborhood is tricky business. There’s a bit of a Paddington Bear feel to the small scrapes Bambang gets into. But Mango’s gentle, smart supervision is just what’s needed.
The illustrations by Clara Vulliamy and overall packaging of the book are scrumptious. This is the first in a series of Mango and Bambang books which are making their way across the pond to U.S. markets. Marvelous treats to hand a sturdy new reader or to use as a read-aloud with children ages 4 and up. My girls would have adored this series! Highly recommended. 135 heavily-illustrated pages.