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The Niggle Paperback – 13 Nov 2017
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About the Author
Peta Rainford is the Isle of Wight-based writer and illustrator of the children's picture books, 'Hairy Fairy', 'Jamie and the Joke Factory', 'Isabella, Rotten Speller', 'Isabella's Adventures in Numberland' and 'The Niggle'. Peta produces colourful, funny (often rhyming) picture books, which aim to challenge, entertain and tease young readers. Her stories, often set in fantastical, imagined lands, feature witches, fairies, elves and all manner of animals - some of them made out of letters! Her writing heroes include (in no particular order) Roald Dahl, Lauren Child, Oliver Jeffers, Lewis Carroll and Julia Donaldson. She is a big fan of rhyme, jokes, puns and general silliness. Peta loves to go out and about and meet her readers, particularly through library and school visits. She thinks children are the best source of ideas for children's books! Peta grew up on the Isle of Wight so long ago she can remember dancing to the Bay City Rollers and buying crisps from the school tuck shop for 2½p. As a child she loved words, she loved painting and drawing too, but she had no idea what she wanted to do when she grew up. She studied English at York University and then worked in London as a business journalist and editor for 14 years. During this time she also studied fine art at Central St Martin's, but she still had no idea what she wanted to do when she grew up. It was only when she moved back to the Isle of Wight (now balancing the roles of freelance writer and mum), that Peta decided to write and illustrate her first book for children. It was a revelation to her: a way of combining picture making with her love of words - not to mention an outlet for her awful jokes. It may have taken more than four decades, but finally, Peta knows what she wants to do when she grows up.
Top customer reviews
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From that day on, even though Joe tried to be brave, he would start having doubts as Niggle told him to be scared. One day, he needed to be brave, but the Niggle was telling him he couldn’t. That’s when the voice of Resolve appeared and helped Joe conquer the Niggle and his fear.
‘The Niggle’ is written in rhyme with short paragraphs that are surrounded by full page illustrations, which really emphasise the story and bring it to life. There are also parts of the illustrations that are left uncoloured, so the reader can colour them in.
I like how Ms. Rainford has written what the Niggle tells Joe in in his ear in swirly writing. This lets children know that this is his Niggle speaking.
From the beginning we meet Joe at two, when he doesn’t have a care in the world, nor any fear. He doesn’t understand how dangerous some of the things he does could be. Then as he gets older, and through an accident that scares him, we get to see Joe as a child that although wants to do some of the dangerous things, has this little voice in his head telling him not too.
This little voice isn’t really a bad thing as long as it doesn’t take over, which in Joe’s case it does. This is until he is needed to be very brave, when he realises that he is braver than he thought. It was nice to see Joe back with some confidence again.
This is a very helpful book, particularly for children who are needing help combating their own fears. I especially love how the author, through the voice of Resolve, talks to the reader about being strong.
Book Reviewed on Whispering Stories Book Blog
*I received a free copy of this book, which I voluntarily reviewed
I thought the way in which Joe ages from two to six and goes from fearlessness through self doubt back to confidence was inspired, as the story gives an accessible and identifiable and positive message to children (and indeed I think some adults could benefit from this book too).
I loved the vocabulary as there is just the right balance of familiar language for children to understand enhanced by new words such as ‘flailed’ that will extend their vocabulary at the same time. The rhyme scheme is excellent too with super couplets throughout so that reading the story aloud has a vibrancy to it. Joe’s parts of the story contrast so well with the way the Niggle’s narrative is wriggly and untidy, fitting his character perfectly. The ending of the book when Resolve triumphs makes The Niggle a very satisfying book.
Peta Rainford’s illustrations are so well matched to the text. I especially liked the nod to Shakespeare’s Hamlet when Joe takes up acting and I thought having a female lifeguard provided a positive role model for all children. Some of the illustrations are left uncoloured giving an active dimension to the book too as children wouild enjoy colouring in the pictures making The Niggle part activity book too.
I’m really impressed by Peta Rainford’s children’s books and can recommend The Niggle most highly.
My son (nearly 7) needed a word in his ear that the Niggle is a (possibly) imagined voice and creature, a part of us that makes us question our actions and worry, seeing the negatives. Once he understood that, he read this himself. We talked about the idea of both the Niggle and Resolve, having voices making us both worried and brave. I think it hit home, the idea of balancing them and listening to the voices that tell us we CAN do something.
It's an enjoyable story to read aloud, the rhymes and rhythm are bouncy and comfortable. I liked the way Joe finds his courage, saving his mum (surely a dream of every child), and though 'resolve' isn't the easiest word and concept, my boy understands bravery and positive thinking, as I'm sure most of his age group will do.
We both loved the Niggle character - great colours and shape, looks 'kinda' evil and otherworldly. Great idea to have Resolve as a superhero as well, nothing my son likes more! The characters have big eyes and look coloured in as though in a child's colouring book, very reassuring style.
We both liked this a lot, a useful 'issue' book for home and schools, for use with children aged 4-8 in particular.
With thanks to the author for the sample copy, sent for review purposes.
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It is a fun book to read but the meaning behind the story is great - the images are really good and they illustrate the story...Read more