Amelia Fang and the Naughty Caticorns

Please note that this review may contain spoilers for earlier instalments of this series. You can read my reviews of these novels here:

Amelia Fang and the Barbaric Ball | Amelia Fang and the Unicorn Lords | Amelia Fang and the Memory Thief | Amelia Fang and the Half-Moon Holiday | Amelia Fang and the Lost Yeti Treasures

Amelia Fang and the Naughty Caticorns was written by Laura Ellen Anderson and first published in 2020. It tells the continuing adventures of a young vampire, as she this time tries to prove that she is responsible enough to care for a new baby. The novel follows Amelia Fang and the Barbaric Ball (2017), Amelia Fang and the Unicorn Lords (2018), Amelia Fang and the Memory Thief (2018), Amelia Fang and the Half-Moon Holiday (2019) and Amelia Fang and the Lost Yeti Treasures (2019). Although the novels do stand alone fairly well, I would certainly recommend reading them in sequence to fully appreciate them.

Everyone in the Fang household is excited that Countess Frivoleeta will soon be having her second child. Amelia can’t wait to meet her little brother or sister and introduce her to everyone she cares about – especially Florence the Yeti, Grimaldi Reaperton, Prince Tangine and Squashy, her pet pumpkin. Yet there is so much that still needs to be done around the house, and things have been made more complicated by the fact that they have agreed to look after three caticorns while the Countess’s sister is away.

When the baby makes an unexpected arrival, Amelia agrees to take responsibility over the caticorns so that her mother can rush to hospital. It shouldn’t be a problem for her. Gerrard, Butler and Mo are all so well-behaved and Amelia is keen to prove that she will be a responsible older sister. However, as soon as the adults leave, the caticorns prove to be more than a handful. Even with the help of her friends, Amelia soon finds that she is in over her head.

While Amelia was excited to take care of the adorable creatures, she suddenly begins to have her doubts. Why do they seem to hate her so much, and what will she do if the new baby feels the same? However, she knows that she’s got to get to the bottom of why the caticorns are behaving so badly. If she doesn’t, they will completely destroy the house before her parents get home!

Before I get to the meat of this review, I just wanted to quickly mention another Amelia Fang book that was published this year. As part of World Book Day, Anderson released a short novella titled Amelia Fang and the Bookworm Gang. Although it’s only 60 pages long, it tells a lovely little story that explores how authors overcome writers block, and why it’s important to ask for help if you’re struggling. If you can get your hands on a copy, I would certainly recommend giving it a read!

As my last few reviews have all been particularly taxing, it was really nice to be able to dip back into the colourful and welcoming word of Amelia Fang. As with the earlier instalments of this series, Amelia Fang and the Naughty Caticorns was a charming light read that was packed full of whimsy. From tongue-twister sandwiches to adorably fluffy uni-kittens, this series still does a magnificent job of blending the cute and the gross in equal measure. The result is a greatly original world that every young reader is sure to love.

While Amelia’s adventure this time was a bit closer to home and lacked the usual mystery elements, it did provide the opportunity to explore a couple of themes that many middle grade readers will find familiar. In this book, Amelia is eager to discover what it means to be a great sister. With the birth of her sibling imminent, the story takes the time to address Amelia’s fear that the new arrival will hate her, as well as her excitement about what new adventures will await them. This is a really positive way to address the birth of a younger sibling and show that it is nothing to be worried about.

The plot of Amelia Fang and the Naughty Caticorns is fast-paced and full of the wonderful anarchy that we have come to expect from this series. As always, the story is packed with Anderson’s gorgeous illustrations that do a fantastic job of capturing the personality of her characters. Although it’s not the most exhilarating instalment to date, it is still a breeze to read through and certainly kept my attention throughout. It also contained one of the most heartfelt endings of any Amelia Fang novel, drawing to a close on a particularly sweet note.

Amelia Fang and the Naughty Caticorns also provided a great deal of development for Amelia, making clear how much she has grown over the last few books. While she has always been a fantastic role model for young readers – loyal, brave and always able to admit when she has made a mistake – I loved how this novel showed her confidence growing. As in Amelia Fang and the Bookworm Gang, it gave Amelia the chance to face something that was troubling her, enabling her to realise that the problem was not as frightening as it first appeared. I think it’s clear that Amelia will be a great big sister and I’m curious to see how this pans out in the next book.

Unfortunately, none of the other protagonists were given as much time to shine. While Tangine remains one of my favourite characters (how I wish I had his self-confidence), it would have been nice if Florence and Grimaldi had contributed a little more. Still, it was nice to see more of Woo, who has been absent for the last few stories, and get the chance to learn more about his hobbies and life outside of being the Fangs’ butler!

Anyhow, apologies for the short review but that about covers everything. Amelia Fang and the Naughty Caticorns is another really strong entry to this wonderful series, and is definitely one that I would recommend to all middle grade readers. I certainly can’t wait to see what adventures Amelia and her friends will have next!

Amelia Fang and the Naughty Caticorns can be purchased as a Paperback, eBook and Audio Book from Amazon.co.uk

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