Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Rare Beasts

Edgar and Ellen, twins who live alone in a big house wearing nothing but footie pajamas, are up to no good. In this series by Charles Ogden, targeted for children ages 9-12, the sneaky twins are always looking for ways to have fun, even (or especially) at the expense of the townspeople.

In this, the first of the series, Edgar and Ellen hatch a scheme to snatch the other kids' pets and morph them into exotic animals (using lots of glue and glitter) and then sell them at exorbitant prices. Why, you ask? To make enough money to fund all their other brilliant schemes, of course!

This is very well-written and a great pick for the target age group. Ogden uses a variety of great vocabulary words to help expand the reader's own vocabulary, and any kid would love to have the freedom Edgar and Ellen do. While their parents left the twins alone, their house is cared for by a caretaker who is the only person Edgar and Ellen are spooked by. While there isn't much character development (the twins certainly don't learn their lesson at the end), they and their situation is so atypical that kids will love to read about their adventures and imagine what they might be up to next.

I don't believe this series is as captivating as The Series of Unfortunate Events, but it does have a certain charm and is well geared toward the age group. Many short chapters help keep their attention and the illustrations are an added bonus. 3 out of 5 stars.

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