When I was young (1976 ish) my Mum had a friend in the north of Scotland (I forget exactly where) we used to go camping with every summer. In total there were 6 kids of varying ages. When it rained (which being Scotland in summer it often did) my Mum would read to us Nurse Matilda, written by Christianna Brand. I have very fond memories of this book, and so as we were camping this year I thought I’d read it to my daughter. It all came flooding back – it’s about a family of naughty children (you’re not told how many but it’s at least 6 who terrorise their various nannies and governess until noone will work for them. Until Nurse Matilda arrives and using her magic stick sorts the children out – its very funny. It’s beautifully illustrated by Edward Ardizzone. My daughter is enjoying it, but I hope she doesn’t get any ideas!
The Brown children are terribly terribly naughty – unbelievably naughty. All the nannies and nursery-maids and governesses in the directory are called upon to implement some kind of order in the house but, inevitably, they are soon driven to distraction and of course leave having had absolutely no positive effect on the children’s indefatigable resource of mischief and anti-social conduct – all much to Mr and Mrs Brown’s horror and dismay. But apparently there is one last resort ‘What you need is Nurse Matilda.’ This is a gem of a book with episode after episode of relentless mischief and vast amounts of humour. Ardizzone’s illustrations are stunning throughout.