Like many parents of young children, bedtime is often my favourite time of day and I love the calmness of story-time. However I do get bored of reading the same stories every night so I was very excited to receive my review copy of 'Nana's Knickers'.
The writer, Nico Russell, wrote the book after being asked for new stories by his niece and nephew. He says 'Everyone thinks they could write a children’s book: plots are simple, characters are often one dimensional, and as long as there are bright colours and a giraffe involved somewhere, you should be on to a winner. But just like peeling a melon, writing a good children’s book is a lot harder than you might think. The process of postulation to paperback has taken me just over two years, and being children, they didn't hold back on any criticisms they had about my efforts along the way. Finally, and thankfully, the critics were happy.'
Nico approached an number of publishers, and whilst they were full of praise for the book, they felt unable to take a risk on a new author. So rather than give up, Nico set up his own publishing house, BlueFluffBooks, and has published 'Nana's Knickers' himself.
It is obvious that a lot of time has been taken over writing 'Nana's Knickers'. My son (aged 3) really enjoyed it and actually sat still throughout, which is praise indeed and only something Julia Donaldson had achieved prior to this! The story takes the reader on a fast-paced and amusing adventure as Nana wakes up to find that her favourite pair of knickers have gone missing. On the advice of her grandchildren she retraces her steps from the previous day in an attempt to solve the mysterious disappearance. (Spoiler Alert!) Nana finds her knickers and so the story also imparts the useful advice of retracing your steps when you have misplaced something to its readers. The rhymes in the book have been carefully thought out and aren't jarring as they can be in some children's books. However the rhyme of 'on' with 'scone' could prove to be a contentious one depending on whereabouts in the country you are. (I would normally rhyme 'scone' with 'own'!)
I feel that the illustrations in children's books are just as important as the story in helping to capture the interest of children, and the illustrations in 'Nana's Knickers' are equally as vivid as the story. (I shall be keep my eye out for other books illustrated by Charlie Meyer.) Colour fills every page and my son's current favourite phrase of 'what's that?' was a frequent interruption in the story as we explored each page. The detail of the drawings mean that with each reading children will find something new.
I really would recommend this book and wish Nico every success with it.
Click here to find out more about Nico, Charlie and 'Nana's Knickers'.