Pet's Revenge (Edgar & Ellen) by Charles Ogden

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Pet's Revenge (Edgar & Ellen) by Charles Ogden

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Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: John Lloyd
Reviewed by John Lloyd
Summary: The terrible twins must defend their home from the terrors of a TV make-over crew. How unfortunate that one is acting completely against character. This is a much superior book to the third, and awakens my interest in this franchise.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 192 Date: October 2008
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's
ISBN: 978-1847383211

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How the mediocre have risen. I was sure the third book in this series had more problems than the ones I brought to it – namely sheer ignorance of what was happening to whom. I was convinced the scenario was uninteresting for the under-tens, and knew the writing was a slapdash disposable rush from one chapter to the next. And here's the volume that redresses all that in fine style.

Edgar and Ellen's Pet, a hairball with an eyeball that I had marked down as an Addams Family reject, has a much greater part to play in this story. Elsewhere, the mayor has finished his development project, and his next task is to get his family to give the twin's towering gothic pile a TV make-over. Not of the most earth-shattering significance, I think you'll agree, but when you're as blackly demonic and pranksterish as these twins, the last thing you want to be doing is singing from conflicting hymn-sheets.

This story has a lot more going for it than the previous. The plot is a lot more of interest to the target audience. There is a much more successful commitment to the comedic detail – the names given the gardeners and painter/decorators. A full forty pages more than book three had allow the author to get right into the story, and the world he has created for this cycle. And with the clever trick of completely inverting one of the twin's natures, we see the characters and how they fit into this world in a much more fully realised way than ever allowed to last time out.

This is still not a completely self-contained book – there are still a lot of things unknown to me from the first books that have bearing on what's happening here (especially when it comes to the Audrey recycled that is the hungry plant), and still more secrets to be revealed in the volumes to come in the publisher's release schedule. I know it's hard to judge now I have had the 'in' of book three, but I am sure there is more detail, more care and just a better book here, that allows us to get more out of it.

So, as before, the reader should take a mark off the Bookbag rating if they are coming to this series afresh. I do think, however, the book has a wider appeal, even dare I say it a charm, that will allow for a wider age-range to enjoy it.

For fans of the series this then is a valuable purchase, and presumably a return to form after a limp third entry. And who knows, perhaps we at the Bookbag are beginning to call ourselves fans of the series.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

For more singing and comic larks in a fantastical world, for this age-group there is always the series beginning You're a Bad Man, Mr Gum! by Andy Stanton.

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