An adorable little fiend that looks a bit like a Wild Thing is—disappointingly—anything but.
Mommy and Daddy Fiend have great expectations for their little one. They want him to be fierce, ferocious, “gruesome and ghastly,” just like them. But Filbert has a different nature. Instead, he is helpful, prefers nice stories and dreams about flowers. His parents send him off for the first day of school decked out in “his fiery red coat, horrifying horns, and monstrous mittens” and the hope that he will “be a proper little fiend.” But quiet Filbert refuses to participate in the monstrous activities and is banished to “the grassy Good Spot” (which might as well be a cork tree). Filbert’s happy reverie is interrupted when a little angel crash-lands. They soon discover their similar predicaments: Florinda is a not-very-good angel who has been banished from Angel School. They hatch a plan to exchange clothes, go back to their respective schools and really freak out their peers, ultimately leading to their respective acceptances. Liao ably paints the contrasting settings in watercolor and gouache and lends further charm to Oram’s appealing characters.
For fans of Ferdinand and anyone who wants to share the message of celebrating or at least respecting differences. (Picture book. 4-6)