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The Adventures of Nanny Piggins

Review

The Adventures of Nanny Piggins

written by R.A. Spratt, illustrated by Dan Santat

From Mary Poppins to Nanny McPhee, children’s literature is full of nannies. Some are mean and frumpy, some are kind and loving, and some are magical. But never before has there been a nanny like Nanny Piggins --- a chocolate-eating, anti-authoritarian, pie-baking, portrait-painting, former flying pig of the circus nanny! But like so many fictional nannies, R. A. Spratt’s heroine, the titular character in the chapter book THE ADVENTURES OF NANNY PIGGINS, enters the lives of her charges at just the right time and brings just the right amount of adventure and unconditional love.

The Green children --- 11-year-old Derrick, nine-year-old Samantha and seven-year-old Michael --- are essentially neglected by their father. He works a lot, often in order to avoid them, and when he’s home, he doesn’t spend time with them at all. In fact, the neglect has drawn the attention of the government. So Mr. Green, even though he’d rather not pay the money, has to find a nanny to care for the children. His efforts to solicit professional child care amount to a hand-painted sign stating “Nanny wanted: enquire within.” Things do not look good for the children until a knock on the door, on a rainy night, brings Sarah Piggins to them. And even though Sarah Piggins is actually a pig in a dress, she becomes the nanny for the Green family.

The fact of Nanny Piggins’s piggishness is not what is so amazing about her. As Derrick, Samantha and Michael soon learn, Nanny Piggins has an absolute disregard for rules and propriety, an enormous sense of adventure, many interesting talents, non-conventional ideas about nutrition, and to top it all off, her brother is a huge Russian dancing bear. She never tells them to clean their rooms or take a bath, and allows them  to eat as much sugar as they want. Most importantly, she listens to them and cares for them. Soon the Green children come to love their nanny, and she comes to love them, too.

From spending the money for school uniforms at an amusement park (and then making their own) to thwarting the efforts of a door knob thief (and in the process discovering a wonderful secret about the children’s deceased mother), from sailing with Korean fishermen to administering justice to a young burglar, Nanny Piggins and the children have one hilarious adventure after another (eating lots of chocolate along the way). Mr. Green and his cold disinterest fade into the background of the home as Nanny Piggins and her brother Boris become the family Derrick, Samantha and Michael have longed for.

Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman on August 16, 2010

The Adventures of Nanny Piggins
written by R.A. Spratt, illustrated by Dan Santat

  • Publication Date: June 12, 2012
  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
  • ISBN-10: 0316068187
  • ISBN-13: 9780316068185