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Astonishingly Good Stories

By R. A. Spratt
Reviewed by Annaleise Byrd
A. Spratt is a NSW-based author best known for the hilarious middle grade series Nanny Piggins, Friday Barnes and The Peski Kids. She also launched an extremely popular podcast, ‘Bedtime Stories with R. A. Spratt’, in early 2020.
Astonishingly Good Stories—a follow-up to 2021’s Shockingly Good Stories—contains twenty short stories. Fourteen involve Nanny Piggins regaling her young charges with pigified, cake-heavy versions of classic tales and myths—stories that are recognisable as, for example, The Legend of Icarus or Robin Hood or The Snow Queen, but that have rather more pigs and cake than usual.
There is also a Friday Barnes mini-mystery and several stories where “Mum” (who sounds suspiciously like R. A. Spratt herself) tells outrageous fabrications to her daughters to explain various aspects of life—like who picks up socks that are left lying around the house.
Several humorous but potentially useful storytelling tips (aimed at adults) are sprinkled throughout the book, and there’s an interesting page explaining why the book’s dedication is “in memory of” Madeleine K. Albright, the first woman to serve as US Secretary of State.
Each story displays Spratt’s trademark wit and silliness—clever humour that adults will enjoy too. As with the previous book, Spratt writes that she wants to ‘spread joy in a challenging time’, and that is exactly what this collection does. I frequently found myself smiling as I read these stories.
This is not just one for existing Spratt fans but a perfect introduction for those not yet familiar with this hilarious author. It is highly likely to send them running to find more stories featuring the irrepressible, irresistible Nanny Piggins.
Puffin 2022
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