Review Blog

Oct 13 2011

Naughty Nina by Juliet Mickelburgh

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Ill. by Anna Laura Cantone. Bloomsbury, 2011. ISBN: 978 1 4088 003903.
(Age: 3-6) Nina is tired of being told that she is nice all the time and one day she decides that she is going to be naughty. Instead of being helpful, polite and good at school, she throws tantrums, is rude when she visits her aunt and jumps on her desk and is disruptive in the playground. However, being naughty all the time proves to be just as boring as being nice, so Nina decides to just be herself.
I found that the word 'nice' got a bit boring as it was repeated often, so as a reader I can certainly feel why Nina got so sick of being called nice.Still, as a read aloud it would work well with the rhyme, rhythm and alliteration making the story enjoyable. The lesson that it is best to be yourself is quite subtle and could raise questions in a classroom discussion, as well as the more obvious themes of ways to be nice and naughty.
The unique thing about this book is its unusual illustrations. Nina is the strangest little girl with the oddest nose, which young children are sure to love.  The subdued brown, rose and pale green tones give it almost an old fashioned air and Cantone's humorous asides, like Nina dusting the nose of a large moose head hanging on the wall, will add greatly to the enjoyment of the book.
At the back is a simple board game, which is easy enough for young children to play with, under the supervision of an adult.
Pat Pledger

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