Friday 13 November 2015

Mango and Bambang: The Not-a-Pig

Mango and Bambang: The Not-a-Pig by Polly Faber, illustrated by Clara Vulliamy (Walker Books)
HC RRP $ 17.95
ISBN 9781406361438

Reviewed by Anastasia Gonis

Mango is a girl who is good at many things. She loves to play chess and is good at karate. She is learning to play the clarinet but needs more practice.

Her life would be lonely if she didn’t have so much to learn and practice. For Papa spends every moment of every day in his study balancing books. It is on a Wednesday that Mango comes across an Asian tapir named Bambang lying on the road, blocking the traffic that everybody thinks is a pig. Being good at things helps her to persuade him to come with her. He has run away from tigers and ended up in the big and busy city.

This is the start of a beautiful friendship between two lonely people that become three when they meet George, the grubby boy up the tree that loves toffees.

There are problems to face and solve. Persuading people, especially Collectors of Unusual Things that Bambang is not a pig, is very hard. But harder still, is finding a bath big enough for Bambang, persuading him to stay indoors when Mango is at school, and trying to find him when he wanders off.

This is a delightful story in four parts for the 5-7 ages. The illustrations are by Clara Vulliamy, daughter of Australian writer and illustrator Shirley Hughes. The book is ideal for bedtime reading in small portions. It is luxuriously presented in purple and grey colours alone, with purple framed pages alternating throughout the book, and a jacket identical to the cover. Themes of friendship, acceptance and kindness move like a mist within the entertaining storyline.

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