December 4, 2012

Nanny Piggins and the Wicked Plan

by R. A. Spratt/Illustrated by Dan Santat
ages: 9+
First sentence: "Mr. Green rolled up his sleeves and inspected his tools."
Support your local independent bookstore: buy it there!

First off: this is a sequel. If you would like to read the first one first (unlike me, more than once this Cybils season, it seems), then start with The Adventures of Nanny Piggins. However, if you'd rather not, Spratt helpfully includes a two page summary of book one for you. I wish all sequels would do this. It would just save time!

The basic gist is this: Mr. Green's wife died, and since he is A Horrible Person (read: lawyer), he needs a nanny. And Nanny Piggins, an ex-circus flying pig, is just the pig for the job. The kids love her (well, she does feed them cake at regular intervals), and Mr. Green is okay with it (well, she does only charge 10 cents an hour. And he hasn't even noticed the 10-foot bear in the backyard). So, everything is hunky-dory, right?

Well, that is, until Mr. Green figures out that he could have a wife for nothing and save him a whole 10 cents an hour (not to mention the flour and honey bill... though on second thought, I'm not sure he does think of that). That, however, would be a Horrible Thing.  It's up to his three kids -- Derrick, Samantha, and Michael -- with the help of Nanny Piggins, of course, to stop him.

Oh, what silly, ridiculous, silly, fun. It's actually not a continuous book, but rather a series of loosely-connected short stories, each one just as silly as the last. There's the duel with Eduardo the Armidillo ("It looks like a pig going to a costume party dressed as a tank") over who is the best flying animal. There's the take-down of the Buzzy Bee Scouts over a stolen cookie recipe. There's the time that Nanny Piggins thought she could heal all aliments with cake. (Well, why not?) And yes, they do, on occasion, put down their father's ideas to marry Someone Else. And, of course, it all Works Out in the end.

I snorted, chortled, guffawed, and laughed my way through this one.

(Just for the record: because this is a Cybils nominee, I've been asked to make sure y'all know this is my opinion only, and not that of the panel.)

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