Monday, 18 July 2011

Nanny Piggins and the Rival Ringmaster

Nanny Piggins and The Rival Ringmaster by R.A. Spratt (Random House)
PB RRP $15.95
ISBN 978-1-8647-1815-7
Reviewed by Oliver Phommavanh

Nanny Piggins is back for fifths in this latest book for younger readers. She’s taken care of the Green children for some time now and they expect food and fun when she’s around. The short stories work like sitcom episodes but like previous books, there’s an arc that carries through until the end. This time, the evil ringmaster is in jail and the circus falls apart. It’s up to Piggins to save the ringmaster’s bacon, putting grudges aside.

Spratt continues to push the boundaries of her crazy world and the satire is still razor sharp, poking fun at weddings and celebrities. In the ‘double episode/season finale’ story, Nanny Piggins is up against a rival ringmaster from Cirque De Soul, ‘one of those awful artistic circuses where they play classical music and impossibly thin acrobats hang by their teeth from the ceiling for ages while the audience is meant to contemplate their own insignificance.’

Other notable stories are the ones where Piggins herself is the victim. I really enjoyed Ghosts of Easter where Nanny Piggins is taught a lesson by the Green children. There’s also a clever story where everybody’s been invited to a host a murder party and Piggins is convinced that it’s a real murder; its classic stuff.

Nanny Piggins and the Rival Ringmaster is another solid collection of stories that are full of hearty laughs and will make readers salivate from all those descriptions of chocolate.  

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