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Nicky by Tony and Zoe Ross is just one of a number of story books that have just been given to me by a friend, who was having a frantic clear out in preparation for Christmas. RRP - £4.99 ISBN - 978-1-84370-611-4 Publisher - Andersen Press First published - 2007. The front cover has a yellow background and features a small girl wearing a blue coat, a green shirt with matching beret and a grey cardigan over a yellow blouse and she is holding a brown bag. The letters of the title Nicky are written in different colours. On the back cover the same little girl seems to be throwing a rubber, ruler and crayons in the air and the TES have described the book as "witty and original". The story is based about a young girl's first day at school. She is making all the excuses she can think off for not going and mum is trying to react positively and reassuringly. She first argues that she won't know anyone and mum tries to reassure her that she will soon make friends. She then says that school dinners will make her sick and then that the teachers will bite her etc; Each time mum is encouraging her and persuading her that everything will be alright but eventually mum ends up carrying her into school. At the end of the day Mum meets the little girl and she is so excited she has had a great day and tells mum all about her new friend Nicky. She describes Nicky to her mum and her mum conjures up an image how this girl must look. However this image is totally unfounded when the girl asks if Nicky can come for tea and sleep over. Mum says yes and that they can both go to school again tomorrow. The two girls are horrified that they have to go to school again the following day. This is a sweet story that I am sure will bring back memories. Every parent has probably experienced similar experiences to this little girl and her mother. I know when my own child started play school I was allowed to stay until she settled in so I think we all appreciate the trepidation, fears and insecurities of a small child starting school for the first time. But I think that the author also portrays the antics parents use to persuade and coax young children and his description definitely brought a smile to my face. The text is very simple and features just one sentence on each page with the magnificent, humorous illustrations. I think the use of different fonts for the two main characters helps the reader to distinguish between who is saying what. The girl's font is more like a child's writing while the mum's font is bold and typed. I think the illustrations make this book and tell the story on their own. They are simple crayon like drawings and depict wit and humour of the story. The facial expressions of child's stubbornness and caring nature of the mother come across to the reader clearly. The first set of illustrations show mum trying to get the girl's coat on and the girl is hiding besides a chair with her toys. Having got the coat on - the girl is then shown hiding under the table, then in the dog kennel and finally holding on to a tree before mum is seen carrying the resisting child into the school. At the end of the day the girl's expressions change, she is happy, smiling and describes her new friend Nicky. The illustrations now feature on mum's interpretation of snippets of information her daughter is describing and they show the wit and humour of the author once again. I particular like the picture of a girl with very long hair with a beaming smile, hanging from a washing line with a cat stuck in a sock as it is very amusing, as is the of the girl dressed in a pink bunny outfit juggling a cat, dog and her daughter to emphasis Nicky's strength. But the shock and horror portrayed on the faces of the two girls at the end I think is really funny. I think this is a simple well laid out story book that I will read over and over again with the grandchildren. It is a great book for children about to start school. We never get to know the name of the little girl maybe because it could be anyone and the fact that the story applies to so many children could be the reason why the author has left it anonymous. A lovely book and I got it for free!