Review Blog

Jun 10 2016

Mango and Bambang: Tapir all at sea by Polly Faber

cover image

Ill. by Clara Vulliamy. Walker Books, 2016. ISBN 9781406361476
(Age: 5-8) Recommended. Themes: Animals; Friendship; Humour. This is essentially a collection of short anecdotal and gently humourous stories involving a young faithful girl, Mango Allsorts, and her friend Bambang. Bambang is a tapir (not a pig!) and with Mango's support and friendship he grows in confidence while getting into interesting situations. He survives a ballet class, despite having four ungraceful legs and eventually becomes a flamenco dancer; falls out of a tree - collecting something very valuable on the way; is chased across the city; is involved in a tapir-napping and the potential loss of his companion. Faber has written in an uncomplicated style and the charming Mango is an excellent role model as a friend - never demanding the limelight and always supporting Bambang even when others don't.
Illustrations by Vulliamy are uncomplicated and cute, and the styling of the book is quite delightful - with a predominantly red, black and white colour palette and red and white striping indicating chapter breaks. Vulliamy is the daughter of renowned Author-Illustrator Shirley Hughes, and there is a recognisable hint of a familial style in the illustrations. In the manner of good picture books, sometimes the illustrations add detail beyond the written text.
This would also make a good read-aloud book for teachers or parents to share with those not yet demonstrating independent reading. (First: show a picture of a tapir so that this is understood.)
Recommended for aged 5 - 8
Carolyn Hull

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