"Hello, little Hamble!" Edgar exclaimed, holding it up so he could look into its mismatched eyes. "Not another one like you in all the world. Definitely exotic! Definitely worth a lot of money!"
"Your Hamble isn't nearly as exotic as my Uggpron or these Snifflepops," said Ellen.
Puppies and kitties. Bunnies and birds. Hamsters, gerbils, lizards, and a chicken. Dozens of pets separated from their loving owners, trapped in the dank basement, each undergoing its own unique and terrible transformation.
Oh, the horror!
Two horrible twins steal their neighbors' pets, decorate them in tinsel and paint, and attempt to sell them as exotic animals in order to fund future mischief. Along the way--impromptu songs of gleeful revenge, hilarious chariactures of adults, and a bit of vocabulary snuck in, Lemony Snicket style.
Rare Beasts is a quick, fun read. There seems to be a trend toward villainous protagonists, but I feel like it's been done better in other books. Ellen and Edgar really have no redeeming qualities, and the fact that their parents abruptly left them doesn't do enough to endear them to readers.
So while this is a witty and creative book, I wouldn't rush to recommend it. If you have a spare hour, enjoy! If you never get around to reading this, don't fret. Unless you love seeing sneaky children's plans being foiled, in which case: Go read!
Three out of five stars.