Kaye Umansky has started this new series featuring minor characters from the popular Pongwiffy series, their previous adventures being referred to in footnotes. The premise here is that an ill-assorted bunch of trolls, fiends, dragons and leprechauns have formed a band, specialising in their own special brand of ‘crash ’n’ bang’ music. Usually hired for tamer stuff, they decide to enter the Battle of the Bands and bring the joys of their music to a bigger audience. Joined by werewolf Tallulah who, despite her provenance and her ghastly dress sense, has a terrific voice, they set off for certain glory. All of course comes to grief when a thunderstorm drives their audience away, but they realise that they don’t care anyway, they’ve enjoyed it so much.
Unlike most contemporary books for this age group and of similar readability, the swashbuckling humour here masks some deeply felt but lightly conveyed values relating to the trappings of celebrity and wealth, the importance of friendship and having fun, the ease with which one can be deceived by appearances or the promise of a good deal and the value of living for the moment rather than holding to tradition. A lot more meat than is usual, slipped in incidentally by an experienced, confident writer.