Nanny Piggins and the children were sitting at the dining table having a very unpleasant meal. There was nothing wrong with the food. (In Nanny Piggins’ opinion you should never blame food for your problems, it would be like blaming a rainbow for the rain.) The problem was that Mr Green was sitting at the head of the table. Their father’s presence had the effect of sucking the fun out of just about any situation. And on this occasion it could not be avoided because it was Father’s Day.
Nanny Piggins is back! Despite Mr Green’s best intentions the best nanny in the world is still part of his life. And still she continues to delight and protect his children and to vex him. In this instalment, Mr Green wants to be Father of the Year, a tough challenge given the very little time he spends with his children, and the very, very little he knows about their needs and wants. But that’s not going to stop him trying, even if it means bribing Nanny Piggins and the children with lots of chocolate. Meanwhile, Boris rejoins the circus, Nanny Piggins bungy-jumps off the roof, the children have to learn to play soccer, there’s an arrest over a diamond theft, a space adventure, a thrilling cook-off and a new job. And of course, there’s cake, lots of cake. And chocolate. Always there’s chocolate.
Nanny Piggins is the sort of nanny most children can only dream about. She has the best solutions to most challenges and mostly, that solution involves either cake or chocolate or both. And if cake is not the answer, then Nanny Piggins has a range of circus skills and circus friends to come to her aid. And then they eat cake. She is always fun, always protective of them, and always gets the best of bullies, whatever their size and shape. Each chapter is a complete episode. Nanny Piggins and the Accidental Blast-off will have readers giggling over their chocolate cake at the antics of this can-do-anything pig and her charges. Recommended for mid-primary readers.
Nanny Piggins and the Accidental Blast-off , R. A. Spratt
Random House 2011
review by Claire Saxby, Children’s author
This book can be purchased in good bookstores, or online from Fishpond.
‘Can anyone remember what the figurines looked like?’ asked Nanny Piggins.
‘All I can remember is that they were ugly,’ said Boris.
Nanny Piggins, Boris and the children were in the living room looing at the shattered remnants of the late Grandma Green’s figurine collection. The ten miniature statues had accidentally been smashed in a particularly athletic game of charades. (Nanny Piggins had set a vase of flowers on fire when acting out the book title Bonfire of the Vanities. Then had to leap to safety before her hair was caught up in the inferno.)
‘I think one of the figurines was a woman with a dog,’ said Michael. ‘I’m pretty sure those green bits were a mermaid,’ said Derrick.
‘And one was a milkmaid with a cow…or a goat…but definitely something you milked,’ added Samantha.
Nanny Piggins is back in a third collection of wild adventures. Nanny Piggins is a pig. Mr Green hired her because he was desperate, and she was cheap. He’s been trying to get rid of her ever since. The children, Michael, Derrick and Samantha, think Nanny Piggins is wonderful. She is their champion, particularly when their father tries to have them shipped off to boarding school. Nanny Piggins has less than orthodox views on child-rearing and manages to leap from adventure to adventure with hardly a ruffle through her perfectly arranged hair. In ‘Nanny Piggins and the Runaway Lion’, Nanny and the children have to face runaway lions, headmasters, Neighbourhood Watch and sneaky siblings, all with the aid of cake and chocolate.
There is no end to Nanny Piggins’ talents and acquaintances (or sisters). She champions the underdog (or bear) and relishes any opportunity to show her talents. She is protective of her charges even when struggling to understand the rules of schools and families and society. She is fearless, the sort of guardian angel children must wish was real. Her antics are outrageous and beyond far-fetched, and just when you think she’s stuck in a corner, she pulls out another new trick and ta-da, she wins to eat another day. Each chapter is an adventure on it’s own as she joins Olympic teams, organises a redesign of the school uniform and rewrites Shakespeare. Guaranteed to bring on the giggles. Recommended for mid- to upper-primary readers.
Nanny Piggins and the Runaway Lion, R. A. Spratt
Random House Australia 2010
review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author
This book is available online from Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.
Mr Green desperately needed to find a new nanny for his children. In the four weeks since their last nanny left, he found himself actually having to talk to them, provide them with meals and pay attention to them himself. And all this had to stop. He had a job at a law firm helping rich people avoid paying their taxes. He could not be expected to look after his children as well.
Nanny Piggins is a most unusual nanny. She is a pig. Not just any ordinary pig though, Nanny Piggins has run away from the circus, where she was a star. The Green household is not a happy place since Mrs Green died, leaving her lawyer husband in charge of their three children, Derrick, Samantha and Michael. Mr Green is not at all keen on children and as far as he can see, the less he has to have to do with them, the better. Mr Green is too parsimonious to advertise for a nanny through normal channels and Nanny Piggins is the first applicant. Desperate, Mr Green agrees to employ her until he can find a human nanny. Nanny Piggins may not know a lot about traditional nannying but she has many and varied talents. Life for the Green children is never going to be the same.
There is a one page disclaimer at the front of The Adventures of Nanny Piggins warning that Nanny Piggin’s diet (which consists of chocolate, cake, lollies, icecream and more) is not one to be followed unless you are a pig. Immediately the reader is cued as to Nanny’s temperament and inclinations. It also sets the tone of the story to follow. Nanny Piggins is outrageous, subversive and over-the-top good fun. She is the most childlike of the main characters, although Mr Green has some spectacularly childish behaviours. Derrick, Samantha and Michael are swept along on this wild ride as Nanny Piggins employs some very circus skills in her nannying. They experience since the first time since their mother’s death, a sense of unity and family, despite the continued virtual absence of a father. Recommended for mid- to upper-primary readers.
The Adventures of Nanny Piggins R A Spratt,
Random House 2009
review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author
This book can be purchased online from Fishpond.