Talk

Advanced search

Meet the Authors: Polly Faber and Clara Vulliamy, and apply for a free copy of their new children's book - Mango and Bambang

(11 Posts)
UrsulaMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 14-Sep-15 15:14:52

This week we're introducing bookclubbers to author Polly Faber and illustrator Clara Vulliamy, creators of the new children's book Mango & Bambang: The Not-a-Pig. We got to know a bit more about the creators of this fabulous book about the unusual friendship between a little girl and a tapir in our Q&A below.

What's more, we've got 30 copies of Mango and Bambang to give away for free! To find out more and apply for a free copy, visit our giveaway page. Remember that if you're lucky enough to receive one of the books we ask you to write a review in our book reviews section, or tell us what you thought in the thread below.

This giveaway is sponsored by Walker Books

Polly Faber - Author

1. What are you reading now?

I am reading the second of Elena Ferrante's Neopolitan Novels about the life-long friendship between two women; 'The Story of a New Name'. They're as terrific as everyone says they are. I am not very good at reading one book at a time though, so this lunchtime I enjoyed 'The Princess and the Pony' by Kate Beaton which is an equally terrific tale about the life-long friendship between a small girl and a farting pony. I have also just started reading 'The Boundless' by Kenneth Oppel to my 8 and 10 year old sons. There's already been a sasquatch attack, an avalanche and a robbery in the first chapter. We're all gripped.

2. What is the last book you bought someone as a gift?

I often buy books to give as birthday presents for my children's friends. I think the last one was the new edition of Catherine Storr's 'Clever Polly and the Stupid Wolf'- a book I loved as a child and still love now. My love might have had something to do with sharing a name with its heroine but I don't think you have to be a Polly to enjoy it.

3. How did the idea of Mango and Bambang come about?

Mango and Bambang came about through my friendship with Clara and a conversation over buns. Buns fuel all the best ideas in my life. Clara suggested I write a book for her to illustrate. I, half-jokingly, suggested a tapir deserved its story told. Shortly afterwards she sent me the first sketch of Mango and Bambang and- WHAMMO!- I knew exactly what I wanted to write about them and couldn't wait to start. I suppose it was the right project for both of us at the right time, but there was definitely a bit of stardust magic in those buns I think.

4. Which is your favourite of your novels/children's book to date?

That is quite an easy question for me to answer: 'Mango and Bambang; the Not-a-Pig' is my favourite book because it is my first book! Although I'm also pretty excited about how Book 2 is looking, which will come out in Spring next year. I wouldn't want to have to choose then.

5. Do you have any peculiar writing rituals or habits?

I'm not sure I do have any writing rituals- beyond the necessity of a cup of Earl Grey tea in the right mug beside me. I do a lot of walking in the local woods if I get stuck. I also have a pebble on my desk with the word 'Concentrate' written on it that I stare at if I'm getting distracted by Twitter or thinking about biscuits.

6. What advice would you offer to aspiring writers/illustrators?

I think I'm too new to this to be qualified to offer advice. My writing began with reading so I think it's obviously essential to read widely and currently- especially if you're writing for children. I also think you have to write to please yourself. You have to feel the emotion first. My internal critical voice is annoyingly astute about whether what I've written is worthwhile; even when I'd rather it wasn't!

Clara Vulliamy - Illustrator

1. What are you reading now?

I am reading Crog by Amanda Mitchison, a properly gripping heart-in-mouth adventure story written for - I think - 9 to 12 year olds; it reminds me of The 39 Steps which was one of my very favourites at about that age.

2. What is the last book you bought someone as a gift?

I bought Cat Lady Chic for my daughter, a collection of photographs of beautiful and accomplished women posing elegantly with their feline pals.

3. How did the idea of Mango and Bambang come about?

It all started over elevenses. I knew at once that I'd love to work with Polly, not least because she makes me laugh a lot. When she suggested a tapir with a child companion it was a lightbulb moment: Mango and Bambang popped into my head as if I??d known them forever.

4. Which is your favourite of your novels/children's book to date?

It's ALWAYS the next book! Either the one on my desk, or the one even further down the line, in a thought-bubble over my head.

5. Do you have any peculiar writing rituals or habits?

I??m quite superstitious, and have lucky pens and pencil cases and particular notebooks with pages in exactly the right shade of white.
I have a very old bear in a nurses uniform, for emergencies. Spotted at a school fair many years ago (so eager to own him I actually pushed people out of the way) and snapped up for a mere 10p. He now lives permanently on my desk, my lucky chum. He can only deal with small emergencies though, being small himself.

6. What advice would you offer to aspiring writers/illustrators?

Be brave and do your homework. See what??s out there, in bookshops and libraries: why has it been published, what makes it good?
Then forget all about that, pull up the drawbridge and write and draw to please yourself. There may be lots and lots of books in the world, but there's room for you too.

StillNoFuckingEyeDeer Tue 27-Oct-15 10:24:27

This is a lovely book. There are 4 delightful short stories about a girl called Mango and Bambang the Tapir she befriends when he becomes lost in her big city. It's sweet and funny and the illustrations are great.
This book was a perfect transition from picture books for DD who is 4 1/2. We both really enjoyed it.

I was picked by MNHQ to review this book, which I received for free. This review is in my own words and reflects my true opinion.

verap Tue 27-Oct-15 11:56:19

Lovely stories with nice illustrations, my 6 year old daughter enjoyed them, it is definitely more "big girls' book" compared to what we usually read.

I was picked by MNHQ to review this book, which I received for free. This review is in my own words and reflects my true opinion.

babyowl Tue 27-Oct-15 12:55:37

This book is very visually appealing with its striking colour scheme and illustrations. A perfect book to give a developing reader. The short stories within this book are a good length with amazing pictures and themes that help build confidence.

Plotwise, it reminds me a lot of the Curious George books with a little girl and tapir replacing "the man in the yellow hat" and George. So the stories are safe for children to read on their own. Dd found the stories really funny and "Can't wait for the next book in the series".

I was picked by MNHQ to review this book which I was sent free. This review is in my own words and reflect my true opinion.

princessgray Tue 27-Oct-15 15:25:53

This is absolutely delightful and beautifully illustrated. And now we all know exactly what a tapir is! It is a really lovely book for children.

I was picked by MNHQ to review this book which I was sent free. This review is in my own words and reflect my true opinion.

I was picked by MNHQ to review this book which I was sent free. This review is in my own words and reflects my true opinion.

My daughter and I have both loved this book. She is 5 and started Reception this year so isn't an independent reader yet. She loves listening to longer books (such as Roald Dahl and Enid Blyton and That Tree...) She loved the cover of this book and the colours and illustrations in the book. It only took us 3 days to read the whole book and I have a feeling it won't be long until we read it again. The stories are lovely and show kindness and empathy and adventure. It's definitely the kind of book I'd buy as a present for someone else's child too.

SuzCG Mon 02-Nov-15 13:16:51

Thank you Mumsnet & Walker Books for my copy.

This book is a real treasure to look at - definitely marked out as a future classic, it's gorgeous!
A book of charming stories about a little girl who befriends a lost tapir and their adventures - the characters are beautiful and the writing is wonderful.
My 6 1/2 year old and I read it first together (so I could review) but she has since gone on to read it again, alone. We both loved it and are looking forward to more adventures with Mango & Bambang soon, please!
Would make a lovely gift for the upcoming festive season!!

barricade Wed 04-Nov-15 21:22:39

Many, many thanks to Mumsnet / Walker Books for a copy of this book.

'Mango & Bambang: The Not-A-Pig' by Polly Faber is a light, fun & humorous read. The book is presented in a delightful way, with a purple striped cover / purple page border design, and great cartoon illustrations by Clara Vulliamy. Similar to books like 'The Spiderwick Chronicles', 'Fortunately, The Milk', and 'The Legend Of Frog', the design elements significantly enhance the reading experience.

The book is divided into 4 chapters. Though chronological, each chapter could very well have been self contained stories presented as a set of 4 shorter books. The book appears to be aimed at girls of primary school age, although young readers of both gender will enjoy it. It will definitely be helpful just after the transition from picture-heavy books to ones with more written text.

As for the story itself, it reminds us a little of 'Paddington'. Bambang is a tapir from Malaysia who has gotten himself lost. Trapped in a busy, noisy, scary city, he hides by camouflaging himself across a zebra crossing (hence the book's striped cover design). Unfortunately, this causes a huge traffic jam, and it isn't until a kind girl called Mango persuades him with a tea invitation (consisting of banana pancakes) that he musters up the courage to move. Invited to stay with Mango, Bambang inadvertently gets up to all sorts of trouble. However, he redeems himself in a way only a tapir can by helping Mango prepare for her clarinet performance at the Big City Concert.

There's a bounce in the way the text sounds when read. Plus, it's refreshing that Polly Faber chose a slightly unorthodox animal for her central character (as opposed to the usual cats and dogs, pigs and sheep, bears and hares that fill such books). Bambang and Mango make a dynamic duo, and the significance of friendship resonates throughout the book. Readers will look forward to more adventures with the pair.

smile

I was picked by MNHQ to review this book, which I received for free. This review is in my own words and reflects my true opinion.

cathisherwood Fri 06-Nov-15 12:52:37

A beautiful book that will be kept to treasure. Sweet fantastic stories with lovely illustrations. Lucie (7) loved it and we will keep it to read again and read in the future to other members of the family.

Clawdy Thu 12-Nov-15 20:41:07

This was a very special book to my six year old grandson. He does not really enjoy being read to,unless the story is full of pirates or superheroes. However this book won him over. He wanted a story each night,and after the last one,sighed and announced "That was so cool....."

cornflakegirl Thu 12-Nov-15 21:32:55

Thank you for this book; I read it to DS2 (6) and we really enjoyed it. I love the appearance of the book – the gold on the cover and the purple edges to the pages make it feel really special, and it would be lovely as a gift. The black, white and purple illustrations on each page enhance the story and are sometimes very funny, but generally not distracting (although DS2 did object that Bambang lost his swimming hat when he dived in to the pool – and it then magically reappeared a couple of pages later!)

The characters are interesting and well developed, and the story lines combine everyday life with the twist of a tapir in the big city. There is a strong morality to the stories but generally without preachiness. DS1 (10) generally doesn’t like being read to, but he did stop to listen to this book for a couple of the stories. We’d all like to read more of Mango and Bambang’s adventures.

DS2 says: I think it’s 5 stars. It’s just a really good book. My favourite character is Mango because she is a very good helper to Bambang. My favourite part is when Bambang gets tied up and Mango unties him.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now