Tag Archives: Nanny Piggins

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 #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.

 

The Nanny Piggins Guide to Conquering Christmas – R. A. Spratt

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The Nanny Piggins Guide to Conquering Christmas – R. A. Spratt

Random House Australia Children’s

November 2013

ISBN 9780857980922

RRP $15.95

Also available as an ebook

ISBN 9780857980939

Where most of us are merely content to survive Xmas, the inimitable Nanny Piggins ably provides us with a foolproof guide to triumphantly trouncing Christmas into submission.

Interspersed with a hilarious Christmas story, Nanny Piggins (with the aid of her trusty assistant R. A. Spratt) supplies pig-approved recipes, handy hints for everything from fashion to how to get the best results from Santa and festive games.

If you think Christmas with your relations is abysmal, just reading about the scrimmage between the deadly dull Green extended family and the wildly eccentric Piggins clan will definitely give you some relief.

Readers who have not yet encountered the subversive and flamboyant Nanny Piggins can read this as a stand-alone, though will no doubt be rushing the shelves to catch up with the first eight books in the series.

Wacky and wonderful, this handy compendium would be a perfect addition to your Christmas reading list/display – or a very suitable alternative to boring socks and undies for any reader 8-12 years on your Xmas shopping list.

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Holiday Fashion Advice

(From the desk of Nanny Piggins)

If you are an adventurous cook and decide to flambé your turkey, don’t forget to wear a fireproof hat. It doesn’t matter how delicious your meal is, if you burn all the hair off the front of your head while cooking it, that is what your guests will talk about on the way home.