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Rare beasts
Ogden, Charles.
Children's Fiction OGDEN

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From Publishers' Weekly:

This somewhat derivative farce launches the Edgar & Ellen series starring 12-year-old twins. The two live in a grimy, gloomy mansion with Pet, "a matted ball of long, dark hair, similar in appearance to an old dirty wig"; Pet is also one-eyed, as the nifty lenticular eye affixed to the book's cover stresses. In the absence of any parents, the siblings spend their days harassing each other and plotting ways to create "mischief and mayhem." Learning from TV that collectors pay high prices for exotic animals, the diabolic duo devise a money-raising scheme to fund various elaborate pranks (e.g., dumping sacks of white pepper into muffin batter at a bakery). After purloining the neighbors' pets, the two use paint, glitter and Christmas decorations previously nabbed from other people's yards to transform the animals into "rare beasts." They then display the critters in a puppet theater that they've stolen from a kindergarten classroom and pull the menagerie through town on an old cart. The pace lags considerably as Edgar and Ellen try unsuccessfully to sell the ridiculous-looking creatures to the townsfolk before the neighborhood kids-red-eyed from crying over their missing pets-blow the whistle on the twins' nefarious doings. First-time author Ogden's outlandish, hyperbolic humor recalls Lemony Snicket's tales of woe, yet this narrative's intermittent slapstick quality falls flat. Final artwork not seen by PW. Ages 9-up. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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