Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Were-Nana (NOT a Bedtime Story) written by Melinda Szymanik and illustrated by Sarah Anderson

There's nothing Simon enjoys more than scaring his little sister, Stella Rosa.And now that the mysterious Nana Lupin is coming to stay, Simon is having great fun.Stella Rosa is afriad. Is her nana really a monster?

The author - Melinda Szymanik

Hey - thats me :) I'm a writer of fiction for children. My other work inlcudes short stories Drawing Horses, and That Summer (published in the School Journal by Learning Media NZ), Rush, and A Winter's Day in 1939 (in the Australian School Magazine published by the NSW Dept. of Education and Training). Rush also appeared in the anthology Dare and Double Dare (Random, 2007) and my story The Gift is in Short, an anthology published by Black Dog Books 2008. My novel Jack the Viking (Scholastic) has just been released and I am now at work on a YA novel.
This is a scary picture book story best suited to the slightly older reader (4 or 5 years old plus). Like me when I was a child, the young girl in the book, Stella-Rosa, has an older sibling who likes to frighten her. And like me as a child, Stella-Rosa is about to meet a grandparent she doesn't know. Is her Grandmother really what Simon says she is?
I tell my children a little bit of fear is a good thing. It heightens our senses and helps us be prepared. I never really stopped being a bit afraid of my one and only grandparent with the thick accent and gruff manner that I rarely got to meet, and my older sibling never got over the fun of scaring us but will this happen in the Were-Nana? You'll have to read it to find out.

The Were-Nana (NOT a Bedtime Story) Reviewed

When an older brother discovers that he has power by frightening the heck out of his younger sister, the stage is set for drama and a denoument. Stella Rosa hears that her Nana Lupin, whom she had never met, was coming to visit so her brother Simon invents a scary story of the 'were-nana' who has whiskers that scratch your skin, fingernails that dig into you and friends that travel on witch's brooms. ... Indeed it is a dark and thickly coated figure that greets Stella Rosa at the airport but it is also a frightening revelation that puts Simon in his place. ...Highly recommended.

A STARRED REVIEW (outstanding book of its kind as recommended by the reviewer) by John McKenzie, University of canterbury in READING TIME (Children's Book Council of Australia Magazine.

The Were-Nana was 'highly recommended' by reviewer Margaret Kedian in the November 2008 issue of Magpies Magazine, and I was also reviewed by John McIntyre on Radio New Zealand on Friday October 10. It is here :-

It is specially exciting because he figured my eastern european background and saw the influence of the fairytales I grew up on. I had a steady diet of Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen as a child - an amazing collection of stories that captured the darkness and light of human nature and really fired up my imagination. I also got a buzz out of hearing that the famous singing sisters, Helen and Margaret Medlyn, interviewed before the book review session liked the book too.