Fangs! (Dirty Bertie)Featured
I think what makes this book work is that Bertie is constantly coming up with and carrying out crazy ideas without much adult interference. This rings very true for my experience with my boys as they grew up! They always wanted to prove themselves against their environment, and they kept impulsively following one crazy scheme after another.
The only thing that kept this book from getting a five star from me is that it lacked any sort of heartwarming moments. I wanted just a touch of sweetness or lessons learned etc. throughout, and I didn't find that. However, that may just be my personal preference. I certainly think many young readers will enjoy the crazy adventures Bertie has!
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.