Tag Archives: Friday Barnes

Friday Barnes #9: No Escape – R. A. Spratt

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Penguin Australia

  • February 2021
  • ISBN: 9781760895761
  • Imprint: Puffin
  • RRP: $15.99

R. A. Spratt (aka Rachel) said to me ‘NO spoilers’ when I mentioned I was about to review this new Friday Barnes instalment and given she is both fit and feisty albeit small, I am not about to quibble! So here’s my rather ‘different’ review ;-).

A) Friday is now the same age as The Kid – growing up indeed!

B) The Kid will be going on her first ever school camp this year as she commences Year 10 at her new school and I will be running full checks on any accompanying teachers – just saying.

C) We live with an Italian, and know others, and I have come to the conclusion that they are ALL crazy!

D) When I reviewed #8 in the series on this blog two years ago I commented that I almost had a full-scale riot in my library when I said it would (as I had been told) be the last in the series. Like me, my kiddos just love Friday so much – so they are going to go wild when this new one appears when school goes back.

As with the others in this series there is loads of action and double doses of laugh-out-loud humour as Friday continues to awkwardly navigate her way through confronting social and emotional situations without ever losing her brilliance and genius-level powers of deduction. I loved it, your kids will love it too. I strongly suggest buying multiple copies so put it on your orders list now!!!!

Thanks so much R. A. for bringing Friday back – you know how much we all love her – horrible brown cardigan, porkpie hat, quirky but smart and, above all, the kid you’d most want to have as your friend.

Check out the blurb here at Penguin – then I can’t be blamed for any spoilers!!

Highly recommended for readers from around mid-primary upwards.

Coffee and laughs at the Shingle Inn – memorable outing!!

Perks of the Hobby – R. A. Spratt

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You can well imagine how I leapt at the invitation to meet up with Rachel – aka R. A. Spratt – which came via the delightful Zoe, publicist with Penguin Random House. We had a delicious time chatting and laughing and I managed to sneak in a few questions on her professional life – as well as learning more about this very talented writer.

In case you didn’t know R. A. began as a writer for TV and had a very successful career doing so before switching to children’s books – and half a million books later, has certainly proven her outstanding ability with that venture! She told me that her first contract was offered the day after her oldest daughter was born so she was taking the phone call resting up in the maternity ward. Talk about double excitement! The only possible issue was that the offer was for two books with the second one to be delivered in three months – three months with a newborn? Easy peasy (!!) – not – but without hesitation she was into it and of course went on to deliver another six episodes in the hilarious and still so popular Nanny Piggins series.  Friday Barnes – Girl Detective was the next series to emerge from this fertile brain – and when it came to an end not so long ago – also after eight books, I had girls literally wailing with despair at their loss.

Now we have another new series rolling out with The Peski Kids and I’m told the third installment is completed.  I am reliably informed that this will also be an eight book series and workshopping for the next “high concept” venture is already underway – what a woman!! She’s a real powerhouse!

I asked Rachel about her main female protagonists – Nanny P, Friday and April – and commented how quirky, feisty and often opinionated they are, though totally endearing. It would seem that they are in many ways a reflection of their creator – well I never! *wink*.

I mentioned that I had been reading some material on Anthony Horowitz earlier in the day and his comment about the leap from writing for television and for children is not that huge a chasm as they are both about fast paced exciting events and relatable characters – Rachel agreed and went on to say that originally Nanny Piggins was to be a ‘pitch’ for a tv show so when she actually tackled it as a book she wrote it in exactly the same way  as she would have approached a sit-com – cast of six main characters, one central location and ‘floating’ cast plus the high level excitement ‘events’.

R. A. works from her home office amidst the busy-ness of raising two girls and a dog – along with her writer husband.  I knew already that she is extremely fit – and does completely ridiculous looking stunts like hanging upside down at the gym and running in potato races (am I right with that?) but didn’t know she also teaches bell-ringing at her local church in the lovely locality of the Southern Highlands (what a beautiful spot it is!).

She is currently in Brisbane cramming in a load of school visits – lucky children!- and one day I hope to see one of her very animated presentations. Within the last week Nanny Piggins’  tenth anniversary was celebrated at The Children’s Bookshop to much enjoyment from the many in attendance., both children and adults.

Thank you so very much for sharing such a pleasant time with me Rachel – all I can say now is that my kids at school are going to elevate me even further to goddess-like status by virtue of my associations!  And of course thank you to Penguin Random House for allowing me the pleasure of reading plethora new books from so many talented writers for children.

Here’s Rachel in action at the anniversary celebration…

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oh post coffee…..

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Friday Barnes 7: Bitter Enemies – Rachel Spratt

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9780143784197

Penguin Random House

9780143784197

July 31, 2017

Random House Australia Children’s

RRP $15.99

 

Beginning of term at Highcrest Academy has never been so dreary and desolate. Melanie and Ian are both depressed and missing their quirky best friend Friday, who has been whisked off to Switzerland to be with her family and attend Europe’s most elite school.  Adding to their misery, the start of term assembly sees the announcement of the school’s anniversary celebrations and the return of four previous headmasters. Good grief! Surely one headmaster is enough for any mortal?

However, they have not reckoned on the surprise return of the school’s most dedicated nerdy sleuth who appears dramatically at the doors of the assembly hall ready to deal with anything that might just foul up the anniversary celebrations. And just as well, the students have been warned to be on their best behaviour but apparently no one told the former headmasters the same thing. You have no idea how much havoc can be created by embittered former educators – wait, perhaps you do!

As usual, Friday is on hand to solve the mysteries, explain the inexplicable and generally get everyone out of trouble although not without finding herself in a pickle at the same time.

Old and new characters make their appearances and really you have to love Mrs Cannon, the world’s laziest English teacher – I wonder what might happen if I tried that approach?

These are such fun to read and Friday’s idiosyncrasies are so goofy as to be endearing. The solid friendships are a great feature of this series, proving you don’t need to be pattern made to fit in.

There is also the pathos as we find out more about Friday’s ghastly family and oh oh, the shocker at the end – what will happen to Friday when…. Oops, never mind, you’ll find out.

These are always high in demand in my library and I know the readers are waiting on this new one impatiently.

Highly recommended for readers from around 8 years upwards.

 

Friday Barnes #5 The Plot Thickens – R. A. Spratt

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fridaybarnes

9780857989932

August 1, 2016

Random House Australia Children’s

 

RRP $15.99

I have some readers who have been driving us mad in the library waiting and waiting on a new Friday Barnes fix – and here it is!

Friday’s at her best solving mysteries, uncovering truth, being a complete dork and antagonising people in this latest episode. Her on/off friendship with Ian Wainscott begins unravelling faster than Friday’s daggy cardigans when she catches his formerly incarcerated father out in a huge lie about wanting Ian to live with him. Ian is furious that Friday has humiliated him in front of everyone.

That sets the tone for the whole term with things going awry all round. Two new teachers, a rather bogus celebrity artist taking over the Art class and an unlikeable bumptious PE teacher seem set to make Friday’s life more difficult.

Ian’s retaliation for the public shaming is a series of pranks played against Friday which begin to make her school life quite intolerable to the point where she starts to contemplate leaving Highcrest Academy.

However, in the meantime there are problems to solve with mysterious graffiti appearing all over the school, perimeter fences being cut in the dead of night and a rogue vending machine catching hold of arms.

It seems that Friday is really up against it this term but always plucky and unable to curb her innate insatiable drive to find the answers to any given unexplained incident, she ploughs ahead and of course, a satisfactory resolution (and armistice with Ian) is the outcome.  This is one girl protagonist who really brings joy proving that you don’t have to be a popular fashionista to be a winner – smart, caring and unpretentious, Friday is a Mighty Girl in my opinion.

As always, highly recommended for readers from around 8 and up – I foresee multiple reservations for this one in our library!

Friday Barnes #1: Girl Detective – R. A. Spratt

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Friday Barnes 1: Girl Detective – R. A. Spratt

ISBN: 9781742759623

Published: 01/07/2014

Imprint: Random House Australia Children’s

Extent: 256 pages

RRP:  $15.99.  Paperback.

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No doubt you would all be familiar with the wonderful world of Nanny Piggins. Now R. A. Spratt introduces us to a new character, Friday Barnes, who I am certain will prove every bit as popular as the porcine prima donna.

Friday Barnes is a Matilda-esque child, thoroughly neglected by her remote scientific parents – the surprise and unplanned child after a neatly organised delivery of four older siblings. Left basically to her own devices for eleven years, Friday is an exceptionally intelligent girl who has read everything she can lay her hands on (starting with all the scientific texts which are the only reading matter in her house). Her only respite from the remoteness of her parents and her carefully camouflaged presence at school is the weekly contact with her Uncle Bernie, an insurance investigator.

When Uncle Bernie is faced with a terrible investigation (the theft of a diamond necklace worth squillions) that seems unsolvable, Friday decides he needs her help and with the resourcefulness of her own clever brain plus the help of her fictional hero, the great Poirot, Friday reveals the culprit and earns herself a huge reward.

Friday is not a mercenary child but the reward money solves her own problem – where to go to high school (since the university turned her down though she blitzed the entrance exam – apparently they weren’t prepared to take on a 11 year old student!). She promptly pays her fees for the most exclusive school in the country, Highcrest Academy, figuring that attending a school which operates on a profit margin, it will at least be easier to bribe her way out of sporting events.

What Friday does not count on is that far from being anonymous at Highcrest, she suddenly finds herself investigating problems from missing homework to wildlife smuggling as well as dealing with some of the nastier pupils.

While Friday still hasn’t figured out the point of high school, she has gained her first friends ever and solved some very tricky mysteries – just by being herself.

Readers, particularly girls, of about 10 plus will greatly enjoy this fun read.