Angela and Diabola

Lynne Reid Banks, Author
Lynne Reid Banks, Author HarperCollins Publishers $15.95 (176p) ISBN 978-0-380-97562-4
Reviewed on: 04/28/1997
Release date: 05/01/1997
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-8072-7953-3
Paperback - 176 pages - 978-0-380-79409-6
Prebound-Other - 163 pages - 978-0-606-13124-7
Hardcover - 978-0-7540-5034-6
Hardcover - 224 pages - 978-0-00-717173-6
Hardcover - 4 pages - 978-1-4084-8321-3
Prebound-Other - 978-0-613-07248-9
Hardcover - 160 pages - 978-0-00-675300-1
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Mrs. Cuthbertson-Jones gets the shock of her life when she gives birth: not only does she deliver twins, but the two babies respectively embody the purest forms of good and evil. While Angela emerges gurgling and smiling, giving a ""polite little cough"" instead of a cry, her sister, Diabola, enters the world kicking, punching and biting (unfortunately for the nurse, Diabola is born with four sharp little teeth). Catering to young readers' lust for naughty characters, Banks concentrates mostly on the evil twin, colorfully relating how she turns the household upside-down, breaks everything in sight, terrorizes those who cross her path and giggles at the vicar's attempt to perform an exorcism. Balancing Diabola's mischief are Angela's far less interesting (and more briefly described) acts of kindness. Broad-humored representations of characters and events keep horrors (crumbling buildings, spontaneous combustions, impaled bodies) at a safe distance, although the account of Diabola killing the family cat may prick some tender hearts. Tension mounts as Angela's attempts to undo Diabola's damage become more frenzied, until the author's ingenious solution creates a happy ending for all--except Diabola, who goes ""splat."" Although the vigor and ingenuity of Banks's The Indian in the Cupboard are not fully on display, the expansive storytelling and comic exaggeration produce high kid appeal. Ages 8-12. (Apr.)
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