Amelia Fang And The Half-Moon Holiday by Laura Ellen Anderson

The Blurb On The Back:

Meet Amelia Fang.

The bravest little vampire in the kingdom!

It’s the school half-moon holiday in gloomy Nocturnia and Amelia is going to spend it with her Rainbow Rangers troop on Sugarplum Island!

But whilst exploring, Amelia and her friends are magically shrunk to the size of bugs!  How will they make the BIG journey to break the curse when they are all so very TINY?

You can order Amelia Fang And The Half-Moon Holiday by Laura Ellen Anderson from Amazon USA, Amazon UK, Waterstone’s or UK.  I earn commission on any purchases made through these links.

The Review (Cut For Spoilers):

It’s the half-moon holiday and Amelia Fang, her pet pumpkin Squashy and her friends Florence the Yeti, Prince Tangine and Grimaldi are off to Sugaplum Island in The Kingdom of the Light with their Rainbow Rangers Troop (led by unicorns Graham and Ricky.  Amelia is super excited to be on the camping trip because there will be lots of opportunities to earn badges and she’s planning to fill her sash up with them.  Plus Graham and Ricky have promised that whoever earns the most badges during the trip will become Rainbow Ranger Captain (although the terribly competitive Frankie has decided that she will do whatever it takes to win that role)

But neither Sugaplum Island nor camping are exactly what Amelia and her friends expected.  For starters, there’s no food – they have to scavenge for it – and the tragic stories that Graham and Ricky tell around the campfire aren’t really that tragic.  When the group sneak away from camp to locate some food, they find a glowing plum tree and eat the fruit, only to discover that there’s a curse on the tree and now they’ve tiny!  

Somehow, Amelia and her friends have to find a way to break the curse but that’s not easy when they’re now so small that everything on the island is a potential danger …

The fourth in Laura Ellen Anderson’s AMELIA FANG SERIES for children aged 7+ is another charming, self-illustrated Gothic fantasy read about friendship and lost love, which is surprisingly moving and has some funny moments (particularly the slug queen mistaken for a sofa).  For me, Squashy and Pumpy the pumpkins are the out-and-out stars but I keep wishing that there was more for Florence and Grimaldi to do as they fade into the background. 

I really enjoyed the concept of the Rainbow Rangers (think Cubs and Brownies) and I’m sure that the target readership will relate to the excitement of camping and earning badges.  It was especially good to see Graham and Ricky again (previously seen in AMELIA FANG AND THE UNICORN LORDS) and I enjoyed their bickering as they try to manage their charges and organise the trip.  

Amelia is a considerate main character and I like the way that while she challenges Tangine on his continued selfish moments, she’s not always strong enough to stand up to her friends when they want to do something naughty as it’s very believable.  My favourite characters remain the pa-doinging Squashy and Pumpy, whose gluttony and mischievousness get the gang into all kinds of scrapes (and really, who wouldn’t want a pet pumpkin?).  However yet again there is little for Florence and Grimaldi (Grimaldi in particular) to do and as a result they do tend to keep fading into the background.

Anderson introduces some interesting new characters, including Queen Denise and King Jamie, who bring a new kingdom of bugs to the attention of Amelia and her friends.  The story behind the cursed plums is surprisingly moving and I thought that Anderson does a great job of portraying the devastation of lost love and how it can transform a person (even when they do not intend to be nasty).  It’s all assisted by Anderson’s illustrations, which are particularly strong in the section that takes place beneath the Sea of Sparkles where the gang get reimagined as sea creatures (and I did chuckle at what had happened to Tangine).

All in all, I think this is a strong series for younger readers that adults can get a lot from too.  It’s especially good if you’re looking to introduce children to fantasy.

AMELIA FANG AND THE HALF-MOON HOLIDAY was released in the United Kingdom on 7th March 2019.  Thanks to the Amazon Vine Programme for the review copy of this book.

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