Where I share my love of books with reviews, features, giveaways and memes. Family and needlepoint are thrown in from time to time.

Pages

Friday, March 29, 2013

Book Review and Giveaway! A Spoonful of Sugar by Brenda Ashford

Title: A Spoonful of Sugar: A Nanny's Story
Author: Brenda Ashford
Publisher: Doubleday

About the Book: Brenda Ashford is the quintessential British nanny. Prim and proper, gentle and kind, she seems to have stepped straight out of Mary Poppins. For more than six decades Nanny Brenda swaddled, diapered, dressed, played with, sang to, cooked for, and looked after more than one hundred children. From the pampered sons and daughters of lords ensconced in their grand estates to the children of tough war evacuees in London’s East End, Brenda has taught countless little ones to be happy, healthy, and thoroughly well bred. In this delightful memoir, Brenda shares her endearing, amusing, and sometimes downright bizarre experiences turning generations of children into successful adults.

From the moment Brenda first held her baby brother David she was hooked. She became a second mother to him, changing his nappies, reading him stories, and giving him all the love her warm heart contained. Knowing a career caring for children was her calling in life, Brenda attended London’s prestigious Norland College, famous for producing top-notch nannies. It was a sign of privilege and good taste for the children of the well-to-do to be seen being pushed in their Silver Cross prams by Norland nannies, who were recognizable by their crisp, starched black uniforms with white bib collars, and their flowing black capes lined with red silk. And what skills were these trainees tested on daily? Lullaby singing, storytelling, pram shining, bed making, all forms of sewing, cooking simple meals, and dispensing first aid—including knowing the best way to help the medicine go down.

In A Spoonful of Sugar, Brenda recalls her years at Norland and her experiences during the war (after all, even if bombs are dropping, there’s no reason to let standards slip), and recounts in lovely detail a life devoted to the care of other people’s children.

Sprinkled throughout with pearls of wisdom (you can never give children too much love, and you should learn how to sew a button, for goodness’ sake), this delightful memoir from Britain’s oldest living nanny is practically perfect in every way.



PEARLS OF WISDOM FROM BRENDA ASHFORD

"I had puzzled many times over the ingredients for a perfect recipe for a happy home. Throw in some stability, a dash of routine and respect. Sprinkle some fun and imaginative games and stir well. But the most vital ingredient is the mother. The mother is truly the heart and soul of a family.”

“As for fussy eaters? I don’t stand for it. I have taken a hard line on this topic. This is a home, not a restaurant and you will jolly well try it before you turn your nose up at it.”

“If a child has sufficient breakfast, lunch and dinner they shouldn't need a snack. I don’t really like it today when I see children being wheeling along in a pram stuffing things in their mouth. ”

“Children cannot get up to your level, so you have to get down to theirs; try and understand how the world looks through their eyes.”

“If we respect little people then they in turn will grow up to respect others.”

“Put a book in a child’s hands or plant them in an empty field or park, and suddenly the world opens up and becomes a fantastical place of make believe and adventure.”

“Never let a house define you. You can make a home anywhere from an air raid shelter to a shed, if you have to. Riches and wealth don’t matter a jot.”

“I was always honest with my charges. In fact in every area of my life I have been most careful to never tell a lie. Why can’t everyone be more careful to tell the truth? At least we would all know where we stand in life.”

“Little folk deserve a childhood that’s full of fun. It’s the single most valuable lesson in my eyes. I have always encouraged children to have a giggle wherever and whenever they can.”

PEARLS OF WISDOM FROM A Spoonful of Sugar: A Nanny’s Story by Brenda Ashford
*9780385536417* On Sale April 2, 2013
Strung Together During 60 Years of Devoted Service as a Nanny


My Thoughts: This was such an easy book to read.  The words just flowed out of the pages.  You could really feel the passion that Ms. Ashford had for those children in her care -- really all children.  Reading the book, it was hard to picture a 90+ woman writing it, as the spirit and energy was of someone much younger.

As you can see from the Pearls of Wisdom above, she is very honest and down to earth, and I don't know of anyone who would not benefit from some of her advice. About the first 1/3 of the book was dedicated to her own childhood and how she came about deciding she wanted to be a nanny, as well as her training at Norland Institute. For the most part, the rest of the book is dedicated to the time she spent with some of her charges and their families.  From humor to tragedy, she has experienced it all.

For some reason, and this is probably just the English flavor that the book had, but it reminded me of the books written by James Herriott and his experiences of being a vet.  They just seemed to have the same rhythm and style and leave you with just a feeling of goodwill.


Purchase Links:
  


Tour Schedule:


Stop by & you could win a copy for yourself!



About the author: Brenda Ashford is a graduate of Norland College, a world-famous institute for British nannies.  For sixty-two years, she cared for more than one hundred children, making her Britain's longest serving nanny.  She lives outside London.












Thank you to the team at Doubleday, Ms. Ashford and Providence Book Promotions for generously offering this book to me for review.
If you'd like to join in on an upcoming tour just stop by their sites and sign up today!




A Spoonful of Sugar
Publisher/Publication Date: Doubleday, April 2, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-385-53641-7
320 pages

Now is your chance to win a copy of A Spoonful of Sugar!  Just sign up through the rafflecopter below.  This giveaway is open to U.S. and Canada only.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

3 comments:

bermudaonion said...

Ashford sounds charming. I have a feeling I'd enjoy the English flavor of the book as well. Thanks for the giveaway.

CMash said...

Awesome review and post. Great job! Thank you for sharing.

Meghan said...

thanks for the giveaway! I love book based in England as I have been there myself. It brings me back to the best trip of my life.
mestith at gmail dot com

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...