Imagine a place where glitter is scary, where unicorns are monstrous and don’t even start on fairies! I love Laura’s playfulness with themes and characters we are familiar with as dark or the baddies, how she turns things on their head a bit. I really enjoyed the language play like ‘my darkling’. I’m sure developing readers would enjoy spotting these and explaining why they work.
There is a welcoming familiarity in this odd world, too. Young readers will relate well to each pupil in the school and families and maybe see themselves, or parts of themselves, in some characters. We’ve all met a spoiled brat before, but this story may help readers look beneath the behaviour for the reasons behind it. Definitely a book to grow empathy, within a fun and funny story.
The story centres around Amelia Fang and her cute friend Squashy. (Who wouldn’t like a sweet pumpkin for a pet?!!) Amelia isn’t the world’s greatest fan of her parents’ annual Barbaric Ball and would love someone her age to come along, too. But when Tangine, the king’s son, is the one her age to be coming along, things aren’t quite as she’d imagined.
When Tangine steals Amelia’s beloved Squashy, she just has to find a way to rescue him, with the help of her very individual friends. Join Amelia, Grimaldi and Florence on their honourable quest and enjoy its querky twists and turns.
Laura’s illustrations add so much to the tale. She has a wonderful style, inviting you into this fictional world and making you feel welcome. As a teacher, this one is my favourite. How good would it be to put your head in the cupboard for some peace and quiet!? (Although, those who know me well know I’d struggle in my ‘organised chaos’ of a cupboard!)
Developing readers will really enjoy the fabulous illustrations as they help the story along and support the visualistation of the story and characters.
I think developing readers around age 7+ will love this book and be eager to read the next in the series, too. It would make a great read aloud for KS1 classrooms and/or for parents to read to age 5+ for bookworms ready for longer narratives (but still developing their reading independently.)
Amelia Fang will be published on 5th October by Egmont Publishing.
Also by Laura Ellen Anderson: