Many members of The Book Club – a Starts at 60.Club are passionate about childhood literacy so we decided to celebrate Children’s Book Week in our own inimitable way with blogs about our passions.
Today we have a very special guest contributor. Renowned best-selling children’s author, award-winning television writer and stand-up comedian R A Spratt has written about her life and works exclusively for Starts at 60.
My name is R.A. Spratt. I’m the author of the series The Adventures of Nanny Piggins and Friday Barnes, Girl Detective. If you haven’t read them yet, they’re action-packed stories, bursting with scientific ideas and brain-bending vocabulary.
In my early career, I wrote for television shows like Good News Week and Backberner and I like to bring that type of humour and irreverent thinking to my books. I do not believe in dumbing things down just because I’m writing for children.
But I’m writing this article to tell you about my new series of books The Peski Kids. I think you’ll really like them. It’s a mystery adventure series. A bit like The Famous Five, if the Famous Five argued all the time and Timmy the dog bit people.
The story begins when Joe, Fin and April Peski come home from school one day to an empty house. Their Mum is missing. At first, they assume she just lost her car at the shopping centre again. But no. It turns out their Mum is not the boring palaeontologist they always took her to be. She’s actually a super dangerous international super spy. The downside is, they only find out because she’s been arrested and put in jail in Eastern Europe.
So the Peski Kids have to go and live with their Dad in a small town called Currawong. It’s based on the place where I live in real life, Bowral NSW.
If you have lived in a small town you will know they are a hotbed of eccentricity. It’s ripe with ideas for novel writing. For instance, I just discovered that in winter Wollondilly Shire Council puts fish (real live fish) in the outdoor 50-metre pool, then rents out spots along the side of the pool for kids to come and fish them out. It’s such a wonderful idea. It’s got so much potential. What if someone falls in? What if someone put a shark in the pool as well? What if people got into an argument about their space on the side of the pool and pushed each other in?
Then we’ve got the Robertson Show which features Potato Racing (adults running around carrying heavy sacks of potatoes), potato throwing and pumpkin bowls. And there’s Brigadoon at Bundanoon, which is a Highland gathering where pipe bands march and athletes compete to lift ‘the stones of manhood’ (these are literally just really big stones).
Anyway, I’m lucky to live in such a wonderful place where reality is far more colourful than most fiction.
The first book in The Peski Kids series is about Currawong’s Annual Cockroach Races (I made this up, we don’t actually have cockroach races in Bowral, at least not yet.) Being a mystery novel of course, everything goes wrong and the Peski Kids have to try to sort it out and clear their names.
I hope you or the young people in your life, enjoy this book.
Sincere thanks R A Spratt for this amusing look at her life and work. The first book in The Peski Kids series The Mystery of the Squashed Cockroach is available in from the publisher Penguin Books Australia.