Amelia Fang is a Faevorite series of both my children, both my girls want to be Amelia and to my 2.5 year old Tinyfae, ANY pumpkin is Squashy; yes even in the supermarket. When we saw a stack of the latest book in Waterstones early there were squeals and cheers and Amelia and friends had to come home with us immediately!
We adored this phantasmagorically funny story with ‘safe’ twistedness but has lots of adventure showing us how Amelia and her friends problem solve and depend on each other to come to solutions.
This book follows on with the Kingdoms once again in harmony and the Rainbow Rangers- a group of children from both Kingdoms of the Light and Dark- are on a trip to Sugar Plum Island to earn lots of badges.
Grimaldi is struggling with travel sickness, Tangine is struggling with the reality of camping and mean girl Frankie is on a mission to sabotage Amelia’s chances.
However, things take a Wonderlish twist when Amelia and her friends go foraging and end up the size of sugar plums.
They must face rainstorms, a big broom, insulted ‘sofas’, falling into the sea and more to find a way to return to normal size and get home!
We adore Amelia Fang books. Amelia is an excellent role model for children; she worries and makes mistakes, she wants things and to do well but she always endeavours to be kind in all she does.
It was always going to be exciting where Amelia would go after the conclusion of Memory Thief ending the tensions between the Kingdoms for good, but I like how the books consistently show growth rather than muddling about with the same old formula for fear of changing what children love or are comfortable with.
Instead, with each book Anderson opens up the Kingdoms to explore more and more but with a recognition through her characters that children often make the same mistakes and victories don’t always erase problems and worries.
In this book Amelia is building on her growing independence going camping but she also builds on her resilience in crisis and promotes the importance of not panicking but stepping back and assessing to problem solve.
Throughout Anderson focuses on the responsibility of true friendship and a Musketeer all for one and one for all attitude of kindness and not to leave people behind and she doesn’t turn to nastiness to deal with aggression from Frankie.
‘LEFT!’ shouted Ricky suddenly, making everyone jump. ‘No, wait…THE OTHER LEFT. LIGHT. I mean, RIGHT. REFT?’
‘Oh my Days Ricky!!’
The language manages to strike a good balance between a comfortably fluent flow and ambitious, with carefully chosen vocabulary to occasionally stretch and encourage.
I love the playfulness of Anderson’s writing, the way she pushes the limits of taste to tickle the humour of children, there are many children we know who would delight in a ‘foods that fart’ badge or enjoy grossing out over cheese and nostril baguettes! Florence is THE BEST character to read aloud but unicorns Ricky and Graham never fail to make me laugh, I always imagine Ricky a bit like Neil from The Inbetweeners when I read him aloud.
As ever Laura Ellen Anderson’s illustration work is absolutely gorgeous from the spiral staircase at the opening to the glowing wonder of the SugarPlum tree the illustrations are so beautifully stunning especially the gathered round the firelight scene. This book really is a joy to behold!
Amelia Fang is one of the books that has consistently caught attention of the families we socialise and piques interest with both boys and girls- Littlefae’s best friend is now obsessed with Amelia Fang audiobooks (as is her big brother) and I’ve also had lots of positive chats about Amelia Fang in random places with other parents after they’ve spotted a book, asked who Littlefae is dressed as or overheard a conversation!
Half Moon Holiday has much to add to the series *cough* mer-creatures *cough* with its Wonderlandish romp of silliness and friendship. Thoroughly enjoyed and very much recommended, but do start with Barbaric Ball if you haven’t read ANY Amelia Fang.
Amelia Fang and the Half Moon Holiday by Laura Ellen Anderson is published by Egmont.