Angela Nicely is the first in a companion series to the Dirty Bertie chapter books by Alan MacDonald and David Roberts.
I received this from the Amazon Vine programme to review, in exchange for my honest opinion, and was quite looking forward to reading it, as the Dirty Bertie series, both the picture books and the chapter books are firm favourites in our house.
Sadly, I cannot say the same of Angela Nicely.
For devotees of Dirty Bertie, Angela appears in many of the Bertie stories as Bertie’s evil nemesis and generally the antithesis of his grubby ways.
This book is the first in a series that is supposed to catch the girl market who don’t get Bertie and who maybe don’t buy the books because they’re too full of words like pooh and fleas.
I have several issues with this book. Firstly it seems to be more like something dreamed up by a marketing department than a genuinely great idea by the author.
Secondly I know lots of girl readers who love Bertie, and who don’t really need a slightly more sanitised, pinker version of him with larger Bambi eyes.
Thirdly, Angela is just not as funny as Bertie. The first story of the three short stories that make up this book is about Angela trying to prove that the head’s new hairdo is in fact a wig. This was the only one of the three stories that genuinely made me laugh. The other two, in which Angela is a model and Angela goes to a health farm with her mother, just weren’t amusing at all.
The books tick all the right boxes for the chapter books market, short chapters, short stories, an easily readable font, plenty of white space on the page and some good line drawings to break up the text.
I would recommend them to girls who want Bertie lite between the ages of six and ten. I would prefer to tell them to go and read Dirty Bertie instead, but if they really must read pink things about pink girls then this would do, but it’s just not as good.