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Orphans turn downright nasty in Rare Beasts, a slim volume overflowing with the devious deeds of twelve-year-old twins Edgar and Ellen. Their parents are off on a lengthy (it’s been years) round-the-world vacation—and no wonder, because Edgar and Ellen are the terror of the town of Nod’s Limbs. The deceitful duo runs amuck in a tall, narrow old house. They have a gloomy groundskeeper called Heimertz and a pet, named Pet, who they occasionally torment. In fact, it’s the presence of Pet that gives the siblings the idea for their latest evil plan—steal the town’s beloved pets, deck them out in paint and glitter, and sell them for a fortune as rare and exotic beasts. With money in their grubby little pockets, the twins will be able to fund all manner of underhanded schemes. It’s a master plan and Edgar and Ellen are determined to carry it out to perfection—if their own in-fighting and constant bickering (not to mention a very big pet snake) doesn’t get in the way. Rare Beasts is the first offering a series by author Charles Ogden, and he holds nothing back in making his hero and heroine as gleefully diabolical as possible. Edgar and Ellen are so outlandishly over-the-top awful that he gets away with it and the result is a deliciously naughty little book. Whether the sneaky siblings develop any morals—and we rather hope they don’t—remains to be seen in book two (Tourist Trap) and its many prank-filled sequels.
posted Aug 17, 2010 at 11:38AM
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