It’s R. A. Spratt week here at bibliobrit! First up is The Adventures of Nanny Piggins, one of my all-time favorite funny book for kids. And adults. Later this week, I’ll be reviewing the first in a new series, Friday Barnes, Girl Detective.
When cheapskate Mr Green hires Nanny Piggins to look after his three children, he makes an unusual choice, because Nanny Piggins is a pig. But she’s cheap and she’s available. And though she’s never been a nanny before, she was a flying pig in a circus and it’s got to be easier than that.
Unlike such prigs as Mary Poppins and Mrs Piggle Wiggle, Nanny Piggins has no expectations of the children and her priorities are sugar, chocolate and fun. The Green children are entirely happy to go along with this, and are complicit in the many adventures Nanny Piggins arranges such as sailing to China, spending their school uniform money on tickets to an amusement park, and trapping a doorknob thief.
Australian author Spratt has created a delicious and anarchic world where a pig can be a nanny who loves the children so much “she often forgot they were humans altogether and thought of them as pigs”. The slightly arch tone of voice pairs well with Dan Santat’s charming drawings which perfectly capture Nanny Piggins’ chic sense of style – even butchers sigh when she walks past.
Each chapter is a self-contained chortle-filled escapade and the book would make a great readaloud for 2nd or 3rd graders.
Nanny Piggins is not a moral character and some readers, mostly adult ones I suspect, may object to her ideas on nutrition and entertainment. I say “bleeh” to them and, as it happens, Madeleine Albright agrees with me.
There are now 4 more fun-filled Nanny Piggins books available in the U. S., and several more in Australia.