Bedtime in our house is my favourite time of the day, and I imagine it is the same throughout the households of the world! So as you can imagine I was over the moon when we were given the opportunity to review a copy of ‘Nana’s Knickers’. Each night I read my DD a different story every night, so to throw in a new one into the mix was good.
The author, Nico Russell wrote the book after his niece and nephew were hungry for new literature and the process of postulation to paperback has taken just over two years. 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 numerous publishers but they were unwilling to take a risk on a new author. Ultimately, Nico decided to set up his own publishing house, BlueFluffBooks, and went on to publish ‘Nana’s Knickers’ himself. He has taken his book into numerous schools and libraries and has received nothing but positive feedback and praise, and further praise from the publishing houses he first sent the original typescript.
When bedtime came, my DD and I sat down on our usual chair in her bedroom and we began to read Nana’s Knickers. From the first glance at the book she was engaged; the colourful designs and hand painted illustrations by Charlie Meyer were enticing. My DD made a loud “woooooooow Mummy!” despite her being 23 months old she was prepared! When we began reading, was an unexpected surprise to find the rhyming, (although Nico is known for being the youngest ever winner of the National Poetry Competition in 2012) which had been thought out in much detail and wasn't as stereotypical as the usual children’s books. When reading, the story takes the reader and listeners on a fast paced adventure as Nana wakes up and can't find her favourite pair of knickers. Her grandchildren advise her to retrace her steps throughout the following day to help her find them! Nana finds her knickers (spoiler!) and the book ends leaving advice to the reader to look back to find something which you may have lost. My DD was very engaged with the book and sat quiet and listened through the whole thing (which is a rare occasion in our house!). On a personal level I can see why Nico said that both children and adults will find his book entertaining as I found myself laughing whilst reading it. Nana is beaming with personality; from having a scone with the vicar to dancing the Fandango! She teaches the children a valuable lesson that some things are just not disposable and the slightest things are priceless but have value at the same time – despite it being a pair of 30 year old knickers!
Since reading the book for the first time my DD has been eager to read it over and over asking for “Nana” and pointing to the book.
The illustrations are hand painted and they capture the attention of young children with the bright colours, whilst helping to tell a different part of the story on each page. Nico has taken into consideration his audience by selecting a font to help young children who are learning to read, learning shapes etc, making it easier for new readers but not too simple for the more advanced readers. He has also taken into consideration those who suffer from dyslexia by painting the backgrounds yellow to enable those with the disability to see the text more clearly.
I would personally, really recommend this book and we wish Nico all the success with Nana’s Knickers and any future books he may publish in the future.