Wednesday 12 September 2018

My Nan Speaks Nanish

My Nan Speaks Nanish by Jane Williams, illustrated by Lisa Morgan (Ginninderra Press) PB RRP $20.00 ISBN 9781760415945

Reviewed by Dianne Bates

Sub-titled ‘(and other poems for kids and wannabes)’ the reader is sure to enjoy the variety and joyousness of these poems. There are 25 of them in this slim book with titles such as ‘Mystery Man’, ‘Surprise Party’, ‘Ship in a Bottle’ and ‘Children of the Fairy Queen’ so that that collection ranges across many subjects, but with most of the poems having a rhyming scheme.

There’s a lot of nonsense here, such as in ‘Three Lunar Limericks’: ‘Griselda Goon was sent to the moon/ (her nose played a terrible tune)/She travelled at night/At the speed of light/In a perfectly soundproof balloon.’ In ‘When I grow up I’m going to eat white bread’, the child imagines the enjoyment of being an adult who can decide on ‘chocolate biscuits. Any time. Me’. (And of course, there’s no sharing with others!) A fun poem is ‘The Adventurous Aunties’, four old ladies in fancy hats enjoying afternoon tea. They include Aunty Bethany who ‘borrowed a buddy/For a wrestling match in Greece’, and ‘Aunty Marlene who ‘misplaced a young man/When the circus came to town.’

The book is illustrated well with black and white line and wash drawings, some of which are quirky, such as the seagull looking at the reader upside down and the quizzical goat in a beret.

Overall the collection is quirky, comic and inventive with poems ideal for reading aloud. Would suit readers aged 8 to 11 years.

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