cover image Mangaboom


Charlotte Pomerantz. Greenwillow Books, $16 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-688-12956-9

""Holy mo,"" says young Daniel when he first meets Mangaboom, who is 19 feet tall, lives in a mango tree, has a penchant for high heels and doesn't put up with any guff (dispatching with a trio of boorish suitors, for instance, she points out that, at 682 pounds, ""Nobody tells me what to do""). As their unusual friendship blossoms, the boy learns that the giantess also speaks Spanish (hence the smattering of Spanish words throughout the text) and is constantly trying to outmaneuver a matchmaker of an aunt. Unsurprisingly, Mangaboom eventually finds a mate who appreciates her just the way she is. Although Pomerantz's (Here Comes Henny) storytelling contains strong flashes of humor (the tea Mangaboom's aunt hosts to introduce her unusual niece to three ""eligible giants"" is very amusing) and a clear message about self-acceptance, overall this is a decidedly peculiar offering, burdened by its details. The tale is overlong and could have used a good pruning, and its quirkiness seems forced. Even Lobel's (The Cat and the Cook and Other Fables of Krylov) lush and vigorous artwork--which does the larger-than-life heroine proud, filling page after page with the flamboyant feminist giantess and her antics--can't boost this story out of the category of oddity. Ages 5-up. (Apr.)