Title: Astonishingly Good Stories
Author: R.A. Spratt
Published: 2nd August 2022
Synopsis: A lovestruck merpig, a peppermint-stick Parthenon, a vegetarian spider and so much more!
From R.A. Spratt, bestselling author of Friday Barnes and Shockingly Good Stories, comes this collection of twenty terrific tales perfect for fans of Roald Dahl, David Walliams and Paul Jennings.
Featuring Greek myths and fractured fairytales as told by Nanny Piggins (the world’s most glamorous flying pig), a mystery investigated by Friday Barnes (girl detective) and a series of tales so tall they will give you altitude sickness.
This book will delight children from four to one hundred and four. Just the thing for reading at bedtime, when you’re supposed to be doing your homework or when you’ve been chased up a tree by an escaped rhinoceros and you’re waiting for the zookeeper to arrive.
R.A. Spratt is back with her fractured fairy tales (as told by Nanny Piggins), a Friday Barnes mystery, and many other hilarious and tall tales that are sure to entertain readers of all ages. The first book of these stories, Shockingly Good Stories, came to us amidst lockdowns, restrictions and great uncertainty, and in 2022, we are still in an uncertain place, and here again, we have a fabulous collection of stories that will take us away from these worries for a little while. R.A. Spratt has injected whimsy, wonder, and fun into these new stories with her beloved characters, to keep us entertained and remind us that there are good things in the world still.
One of the things I love the most about these stories is that Nanny Piggins’ relatives often have a starring role in the fairy tales and myths we know so well -or, as she says, so we think, because the humans wrote the stories without pigs and with men taking the roles her female relatives undertook – pigism, as she calls it. It’s a fun little tongue-in-cheek thing that I think illustrates it is wrong to judge people and shows that the oral stories were always altered and changed, so that by the time they were recorded, there could have been many changes to them over the years. The position Nanny Piggins takes is interesting, as it allows us to imagine what the original story might have been, even if it is, in this case, a fantastical and funny take on things. But of course, as Nanny Piggins says, the pigs are always too busy being glamorous to write their stories, so maybe that’s why we get the stories we do (at least in Nanny Piggins’s world).
My favourite girl detective, Friday, gets a story – a mystery about a Christmas decoration and a belligerent headmaster who always seems to find a reason to call her to his office, even though she hasn’t done anything wrong. This short story was charming, and I loved the way Friday solved the case – read on to find out. It’s stuck amidst the tall tales of Tammy and her mother, and Nanny Piggins, and is probably the most realistic of the twenty stories, but that is the joy and fun of these stories. The ridiculousness of them all – that is what makes it so entertaining and fun. It’s a bit of escapism too, and I think it will be a great book to read when those who pick it up need a break from pandemic news and everything else that is going on in the world. It gives readers a chance to escape for a little bit, to reset so they can go back to engaging with the real world.
I loved the short stories, and there were times when I wanted more – to find out what happened next. Nanny Piggins and her penchant for chocolate was such fun too, and gave the stories colour and fun, and pulls readers into her world. Newcomers to her world will love it, and fans will love the extension. And the tall tales were lots of fun too, taking seemingly boring things and making them fun, weird, and vibrant – even though Tammy sometimes wishes Mum wouldn’t be so outrageous, I loved that the characters in all these stories were allowed to be who they are, and didn’t compromise and tone down what they were like. What a fun lot of stories! R.A. Spratt is an amazing author, and I loved this book.