First published in the UK, the language and illustrations do feel British, which simply endeared FANGS! to me all the more. The tone was set on the title page, with a simple but hilarious illustration of four schoolboys, all dressed up as Harry Potter. Also, our hero is called Bertie. I love saying Bertie in an English accent. You try it. It’s jolly good fun, what?
I also enjoyed the inventiveness of the plots. Books aimed at beginning readers can too easily slip into the predictable, echoing the admittedly routine lives of their audience. However, school pets and the class bully are nowhere to be found in Dirty Bertie’s world. In Fangs! Bertie is convinced that Mr. Grouch, the school caretaker, is in reality a vampire, and tries to prove it, with amusingly disastrous results. Hairy! focuses on Bertie’s attempts to avoid getting a haircut. Fashion! has Bertie strutting his confused stuff on the runway, having been mistaken for a child model.
Junie B. can skootch right over and make room on the shelf for Bertie.