A solitary tapir, far from home, and a kind young girl forge an unlikely friendship over a feast of banana pancakes and a heap of adventures. Meet Mango and Bambang – a delightful duo destined to win the hearts of children and grown-ups alike.
A fitting heroine for modern girlhood, Mango Allsorts is a girl good at all things, not just karate and chess. She also has a good heart and when she discovers a scared and frightened tapir (and not-a-pig as ignorant passers-by want to insist), she doesn’t hesitate to come to his rescue.
And so begins a touching friendship where each party takes it in turns to comfort and encourage the other, with Mango helping Bambang overcome his feature of tigers and bossy old ladies, while Bambang in return gives Mango the confidence to perform at her clarinet recital.
Mango Allsorts is a heroine in the grand tradition of Eloise and Madeline. Like her fictional female forebears, Mango is a spirited and independent-minded go-getting gal. As for Bambang, his natural antecedent is surely the famous alien bear
in the big city, Paddington
Written in short chapters featuring playful antics at the swimming pool (the vision of a tapir in a floral swim hat is a truly delightful thing!) and misadventures with mean neighbours. The lyrical text of the lightly comical narrative will be devoured by early readers, and is perfectly matched with Clara Vulliamy’s utterly charming pictures on every page.
Everything about this duo is a delight, from their quirky names to their endearing personalities. Their physical appearance is picture-perfect too, with Mango sporting a Louise Brooks’ bob with a giant girlish bow and chic Peter Pan collar ensemble while Mango’s snout and big eyes just make you want to cuddle him. Plus, as Vulliamy points out, Bambang’s large white belly and black posterior give him the permanent look of one whose tights are falling down!
There is a very endearing dynamics to their relationship, too, with their friendship providing them both with some much needed companionship. (Although readers sense that Mango loves her Papa very much, he does seem to be rather distracted by his work).
Finally, we have to mention the absolutely exquisite design details of the book, with lilac and white candy stripes and gold details on the outer and a bold black-and-white stripe on the book itself. Even the pages have lilac edges, making it look practically good enough to eat – like delicious Parma Violets.
Fun fact The tapir’s nose is prehensile, which basically means it is capable of grasping things – in their case, mostly leaves. It also acts as a snorkel while swimming.
Did you know? Tapir calves are born with dappled markings; at about six months, they lose the markings and look like a miniature adult tapir. The dappled markings of a calf make excellent camouflage.
** WANT MORE MANGO AND BAMBANG? ** Check out the Mango and Bambang website for fun activities and more lots more lilac loveliness.
Author notes Polly Faber read English Literature at Oxford University. During her time at university, she performed comedy and appeared in shows at the Edinburgh Fringe. Upon graduating, Polly trained as a midwife which she worked as until she had her own children. Polly is a volunteer reading helper through the charity Beanstalk. With her family, she looks after her very own tiny free library outside their house in North London.
Illustrator notes Clara Vulliamy grew up in Notting Hill. She is the daughter of Shirley Hughes, and her father was an architect. Clara enrolled to study History at Bristol University, but she changed her mind and left to study art at the Ruskin in Oxford, Chelsea School of Art and The Royal Academy. She started her career by drawing a weekly cartoon in The Guardian with Mark Haddon. Clara is the illustrator of the Dixie O’Day series.