Much of the fun of this oddball romp is rereading it for the clues missed the first time through. The protagonist's name (given to the title) is an early indication that our protagonist is, well, of a different breed. While returning home for a French lesson with her tutor, Scarlett is kidnapped by the family chauffeur, Ralph Falstaff. Her parents agree to meet Falstaff at a cemetery and pay the ransom, on one condition: she must be home before dark. Their provision seems utterly sensible, but it ushers in a shivery surprise. As Scarlett's parents arrive with the money, a full moon appears in the night sky-and the dignified couple begins to howl. "`Hold on kid, we're getting out of here!' [Ralph] shouted as he zoomed the car toward the gates of the graveyard. `Werewolves! I can't believe those people are werewolves.' And in the backseat Scarlett Angelina said, `GGGGRRRR.'" Spooky, funny details (such as Scarlett's taste for very rare meat) find an outstanding match with Ajhar's swirling, murky and blithely comic watercolors. Some of the settings invoke the spirit of Charles Addams, but, with Ajhar's bright-eyed, toothy characters, he establishes his own kid-pleasing vision. Ages 5-up. (Sept.)
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This book is for the brave child who enjoys a little spine-tingle. Scarlett is an unusual child right from the beginning of the book. She lives in a castle, surrounded by tutors and private lessons, but doesn't seem a bit spoiled. When Scarlett is kidnapped, she's unshaken and calmly faces the new adventure. But odder yet is the way Angelina gobbles up rare hamburger, the way animals around her disappear, and how her parents demand she be back before dark ("and tonight of all nights, there is a full moon!") Older children may unravel the surprise ending, but both younger and older listeners will howl with laughter and delight as they discover Angelina's carefully hidden secret.
Children's Literature - Susie Wilde
K-Gr 2-Scarlett Angelina Wolverton-Manning lives in a house that looks like a Bavarian castle. She seems to be a dainty child of privilege, whose life is ruled by etiquette. And then, Horrors! She is kidnapped by dastardly Ralph. Things look bleak for the little girl...or do they? What is she doing with Ralph's pets when his back is turned? What is the fatal significance of the sunset hour? The tables are turned on the last page when her captor discovers her secret at last-she and her parents are werewolves. Ogburn sprinkles her text with evocative references for careful readers: toothy smiles and big eyes, steak extra rare, a full moon over the graveyard. Ajhar's watercolors are shadowy and creepy without being truly sinister. A good read on an autumn night for children who like to shiver some, but not too much.-Ruth Semrau, formerly at Lovejoy School, Allen, TX
ger for reading aloud. When Scarlett Angelina, the only daughter of the rich Wolverton-Mannings, is kidnapped, the kidnapper doesn't pay much attention to her parents' insistence that she be returned before dark. More the fool he. After dispatching 20the beefy kidnapper's parrot, fish, and cat, the preternaturally composed little girl downs a rare burger in three dainty bites. When the Wolverton-Mannings rendezvous with their daughter and her kidnapper by the light of the full moon, the kidnapper finally discovers the family secret--and as he leaps into his car to flee the werewolf parents, Scarlett Angelina growls from his back seat. Ogburn's 20clever storytelling makes it clear that absolutely nothing fazes self-possessed Scarlett Angelina. Ajhar's watercolors are evocatively set--from manor house to hidden cottage to moonlit graveyard--and his characterizations are wonderfully humorous and expressive. The book is an unqualified howl.