Books & Literature

Book Review: The Ultimate Collection of Brilliant Bedtime Stories, by RA Spratt

CHILDRENS: Bedtime has never been so bonkers! The ultimate collection of short stories from the irrepressibly funny author of Friday Barnes.

An hilarious and always a little bit silly spin on fairy tales we all know and love.

Feature image credit: Penguin Books Australia

RA Spratt is a hugely successful Australian author and television writer, specialising mainly in animation and as a podcast host. She is well known among middle years readers for her Friday Barnes, The Peski Kids and Nanny Piggins series. Her podcast, begun in 2020 and has a huge following around the world. Her stories are usually short stories about Friday Barnes or Nanny Piggins.

In The Ultimate Collection of Brilliant Bedtime Stories Nanny Piggins tells her stories to three bear children, Samantha, Derrick and Michael. Children familiar with the Nanny Piggins series will be well acquainted with how Nanny Piggins came to be their nanny. Nanny is always well dressed and loves eating all things chocolate.

Each story Nanny tells is a variation of a well-known fairy tale, told from her point of view, which is always just a little bit silly. Funnily enough, apparently many important characters in fairy tales are actually pigs and related to Nanny. Why didn’t anyone ever tell us that?

Each has a twist and because most stories are familiar, the twist becomes all the more ridiculous. There is nothing Nanny Piggins has not done, and no one who she isn’t related to. Circus performer, helping escapee Russian Bears, but mostly baking cakes and pies and eating copious amounts of chocolate. These stories are clever and very funny. Reading them aloud to any child would be a pleasure. Teachers, here is your next term’s class novel.

With 28 short stories in total, The Ultimate Collection of Brilliant Bedtime Stories will keep you busy at bedtimes for a long while. Stories such as, The Sword in the Stone, Chicken Little-Brain and The Twelve Dancing Pigcesses are all familiar but with their nanny twist.

A bright yellow front cover will ensure it never gets lost, and children who listen to Spratt’s podcast already will be familiar with many of the tales.

Each chapter has a different story and the font changes when the actual fairy tale is being told. There is also a short fun fact at the end of each chapter. At the end of the book, Spratt talks about where fairy tales came from and how they travelled around the globe until someone claimed them. It includes a map showing the Silk Road Story Super Highway. An interesting topic to research with older primary students. There are also two funny but yummy sounding recipes so you can make your own chocolaty deliciousness. 

The Ultimate Collection of Brilliant Bedtime Stories would be a great addition to any Christmas stocking. As it says on the back cover, they will give you joy in your heart, a tickle in your funny bone and a boggled brain.  

Reviewed by Sue Mauger

The views expressed in this review belong to the author and not Glam Adelaide, its affiliates, or employees.

Distributed by: Penguin Books Australia
Released: August 2023
RRP: $22.99

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