Nanny Piggins and the Wicked Planby R. A. Spratt
The world's most fabulous nanny pig is back in this side-splitting sequel to The Adventures of Nanny Piggins!
When Mr. Green announces his diabolical plan-he has decided to get married-his children are horrified. Because if he finds a wife, he'll get fire their beloved nanny. Breakfast without chocolate? Never! Someone must stop him, and Nanny Piggins is/b>… See more details below
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The world's most fabulous nanny pig is back in this side-splitting sequel to The Adventures of Nanny Piggins!
When Mr. Green announces his diabolical plan-he has decided to get married-his children are horrified. Because if he finds a wife, he'll get fire their beloved nanny. Breakfast without chocolate? Never! Someone must stop him, and Nanny Piggins is just the pig to do it!
R.A. Spratt's delightfully funny follow-up to her award-winning debut is chock-full of surprising adventures for the feisty Nanny Piggins and the adorable children, from being blasted out of a cannon with an arrogant armadillo to dueling a Gypsy Queen over a pit of fire. Dan Santat is back again with his quirky and wonderfully charming illustrations that capture the fun and high-flying spirit of these hilarious stories.
*"Mary Poppins, move over-or get shoved out of the way. Nanny Piggins has arrived... This is smart, sly, funny, and marvelously illustrated with drawings that capture Nanny's sheer pigginess."
Praise for Nanny Piggins and the Wicked Plan:
* "If Amelia Bedelia and Mary Poppins raised a piglet, Nanny Piggins ... could surely beat that pig in a cake-eating contest...
Australia's favorite porcine childcare worker returns in a new collection of adventures sure to entertain and possibly inspire envy in readers who'll wish she were their nanny...
Feisty, funny Nanny Piggins and her adoring charges will charm readers and listeners stateside, who'll be overjoyed there are five additional volumes already out Down Under."Kirkus (starred review)
* "Nanny Piggins returns and more hilarity ensues...the action is nonstop and the silliness never ending, though there are words of wise wisdom here as well."Booklist (starred review)
Praise for The Adventures of Nanny Piggins:
* "Mary Poppins, move over-or get shoved out of the way. Nanny Piggins has arrived... This is smart, sly, funny, and marvelously illustrated with drawings that capture Nanny's sheer pigginess."Booklist"
Spratt's Mary Poppins-cum-Paddington Bear with a sprinkling of Snickettian humor makes for a terrific read aloud... Readers will demand swift release of the two sequels."Kirkus"
Reluctant and avid readers alike will get caught up in this book's humor, charm, and adventure."School Library Journal
Read an Excerpt
Nanny Piggins and The Wicked Plan
By Spratt, R. A.
Little, Brown Books for Young ReadersCopyright © 2012 Spratt, R. A.
All right reserved.
Mr. Green’s Wicked Plan
Mr. Green rolled up his sleeves and inspected his tools. He had a crowbar, a pickax, a long-handled shovel, and a chain saw all laid out on the ground in front of him. He was not sure which to use. He was not a man who was used to manual labor, because he was a lawyer, so he never did any real work. Certainly not work that involved his hands.
Meanwhile, across the street, Nanny Piggins, Derrick, Samantha, Michael, and Boris (the dancing bear) all crouched hidden in Mrs. Pumpernickel’s azalea bushes watching Mr. Green.
“What’s he up to?” whispered Michael.
“He’s not gardening, is he?” worried Samantha. She was sure her father’s idea of gardening would involve killing all the plants and pouring concrete over everything.
“Perhaps he’s digging a grave,” suggested Derrick.
“Hmm,” said Nanny Piggins, because she was too busy watching to say anything more complicated.
“Look! He’s putting on gloves!” exclaimed Boris, who had a better view than anybody else. Being ten feet tall, his head stuck out above the azalea bushes.
“And he’s picking up the chain saw!” exclaimed Michael.
“He is a murderer!” exclaimed Derrick.
“No, look!” exclaimed Samantha. “He’s going for the sign!”
And sure enough, Samantha was right. There had been a sign standing in the Greens’ front lawn for many months. It read “NANNY WANTED: ENQUIRE WITHIN.” And Mr. Green was now approaching this sign while revving the chain saw.
“I can’t watch,” squealed Boris, who was very sensitive.
With a roar of the chain saw, Mr. Green sliced through the wooden stake that held the sign aloft, then stood back and watched as the weather-beaten placard flopped facedown on the lawn.
“Do you know what this means?” asked Samantha, clutching her nanny joyously. “He’s stopped looking for a human nanny.”
“He doesn’t want to replace you anymore!” said Michael, taking out a celebratory chocolate bar.
“You’re going to be our nanny forever!” exclaimed Derrick.
“Hmm,” said Nanny Piggins. She did not like to dampen the children’s enthusiasm, but she had known Mr. Green for many months now, and it had only taken her three seconds to accurately gauge his character. So she suspected he had a less happy reason. “Children,” said Nanny Piggins, “I think your father might be up to something.”
And that was, indeed, the case. Mr. Green was up to something. And even though Nanny Piggins and the children had tremendous imaginations as a result of reading an awful lot of trashy novels, even they could not have imagined the wickedness Mr. Green had in mind.
It was all revealed the next morning at breakfast. The Green family was gathered around the breakfast table, except for Boris. (Mr. Green had not yet realized there was a giant dancing bear living in his garden shed, so Boris still had to stay hidden. At breakfast time he sat outside the window and Michael passed out slices of honey-covered toast to him. Fortunately, not only had Mr. Green failed to notice the ten-foot bear in his garden, he also had not noticed that he was paying for fifty gallons of honey to be delivered to the house every week. He was not an observant man.) Everyone was eating breakfast quietly, waiting for Mr. Green to leave, when he disappointed them by clearing his throat.
That could only mean one thing. He was going to talk to them seriously about something. Samantha and Derrick stifled a groan. Michael groaned outwardly. And Nanny Piggins shoved seven jelly-filled doughnuts in her mouth and braced herself for the worst.
“As you know, your mother has been dead for some time,” began Mr. Green. (Not a pleasant conversation starter, I think you will agree. But Mr. Green was not a sensitive man.)
“Two years, three months, and five days,” supplied Derrick.
“And eleven hours,” added Samantha.
Michael didn’t add anything; he just whimpered.
“And of course I miss her,” continued Mr. Green. “I miss having someone to do my laundry, cook my meals, and fetch my dry cleaning.”
“So you’ve decided to buy a slave?” asked Nanny Piggins as she tried to both hurry Mr. Green up and guess where this conversation could possibly be going.
“No,” said Mr. Green, pausing for no reason. (He always left long pauses in the middle of sentences. It’s a trick lawyers use because they charge their clients by the hour, so if they speak slowly they get paid more.) “I have decided to get married.”
“What?” yelled Derrick.
“No!” hollered the normally quiet Samantha.
“Mpf,” spluttered Michael because he had just been hit in the face with seven partly chewed doughnuts spat out in shock by Nanny Piggins.
“To a woman?” asked Samantha, just to be sure, because she was finding it very hard to wrap her mind around the idea. The children could never understand why their own mother had married Mr. Green. They just assumed she had taken too much cold medication that day, or been hit on the head by a falling air-conditioning unit, or something (they watched a lot of cartoons). It had never occurred to them that their father might find another woman who was equally temporarily insane.
“Who is she?” asked Nanny Piggins, deciding to immediately ring the poor woman and try to talk her out of it.
“I haven’t met her yet,” said Mr. Green.
“Oooh,” said Nanny Piggins and the children with a huge sigh of relief. They were pleased that it was just Mr. Green who was insane, not some poor woman. They all seriously doubted that Mr. Green could ever find anyone crazy enough to marry him.
“But I do have a date,” added Mr. Green.
Now this amazed them.
“With a woman?” asked Nanny Piggins, just to be sure.
“Of course,” spluttered Mr. Green.
“All right, no need to be species-ist,” said Nanny Piggins, who had never understood what humans saw in each other.
“Does she have bad eyesight?” asked Michael. He felt it would be easier for his father to trick someone who could not see him.
“Her name is Miss Pettigrove, and she works at our firm,” explained Mr. Green.
“So she’s a lawyer?” asked Nanny Piggins. She was having visions of an awful female version of Mr. Green.
“No, she’s a cleaning lady,” said Mr. Green.
“A cleaning lady!” exclaimed Derrick, Samantha, and Michael. They were astonished.
“Yes,” said Mr. Green. In fact, it was her ability to clean that had drawn his admiration. Mr. Green, like any man, was attracted to tall, beautiful blonds. But he was even more attracted to a woman who would set to work at five o’clock in the morning and make a linoleum floor shine until you could see your face in it. He had not seen his face in his own kitchen floor for years. Two years, three months, and five days, to be exact.
Nanny Piggins and the children sat there in stunned silence. They did not know what to think, so they certainly did not know what to say. Nanny Piggins had even stopped eating (her jelly doughnut poised in front of her agape mouth), she was so shocked.
But Mr. Green had not finished. He had something else to add. He cleared his throat to regain his family’s attention.
“So, er…” said Mr. Green. (He always struggled to know how to ask for something. Nanny Piggins said it was because he must have had all his charm surgically removed as a child.) “So, um…” continued Mr. Green, “I will be needing you, Nanny, er… Piggins, to do me a favor.”
“Really?” said Nanny Piggins. She loved it when Mr. Green asked for favors. It almost always resulted in him buying her a cake.
“I intend to take Miss Pettigrove on a picnic,” said Mr. Green. (He had planned a picnic because it was cheaper than going to a restaurant.) “So…” he continued, “I will need you to look after her baby.”
“She has a baby?” queried Nanny Piggins. This was most unexpected.
“Yes, she’s a widow,” explained Mr. Green.
“Then shouldn’t she be Mrs. Pettigrove?” asked Samantha.
“I suppose so,” said Mr. Green. He had never really thought about it. The truth was, not only did Mr. Green have Miss Pettigrove’s title wrong, he had her name wrong as well. Her name was really Mrs. Pettigrain. But Mr. Green was the type of man who did not think something like his cleaning lady’s actual name was important. “Anyway, she’ll be arriving here in—” Mr. Green looked at his watch—“three minutes, so I’ll need you to babysit the child for the rest of the day.”
“I don’t know,” said Nanny Piggins. “We were going to get started on inventing a perpetual motion machine by going down to the garbage dump to look for bicycle wheels. If we did this ‘babysitting,’ what would we get in exchange?”
“Er… the pleasure of helping me out?” suggested Mr. Green.
The children rolled their eyes. Nanny Piggins shook her head sadly. “You’ll have to do better than that.”
Mr. Green looked terrified for a moment. He thought Nanny Piggins was about to ask for a raise. But then he remembered all his previous negotiations with his nanny. “I could buy you a cake?” he suggested hopefully.
“A chocolate mud cake that is three feet wide!” demanded Nanny Piggins.
“One foot wide,” countered Mr. Green. (He enjoyed negotiating.)
“Six feet wide!” said Nanny Piggins.
“Um, I’m not sure you understand the principles of negotiating,” said Mr. Green.
“Nine feet wide!” demanded Nanny Piggins.
“All right, all right,” said Mr. Green, realizing it was better to give up now. (He never enjoyed negotiating with Nanny Piggins.)
“Deal!” exclaimed Nanny Piggins.
The children cheered and Nanny Piggins sprang across the table happily to shake Mr. Green’s hand. After all, how hard could babysitting a baby be? But Nanny Piggins’s self-congratulation and excitement were soon interrupted by a terrible wailing noise.
“What on earth is that dreadful noise?” asked Nanny Piggins.
No one had time to answer because the doorbell rang. And the children were too busy running to the living room to peek out the window and see the woman crazy enough to go out with their father.
Mr. Green insisted on opening the front door himself, which meant that they all had to watch him being nice to Mrs. Pettigrain. It was cringe-worthy. It was not so much what he said—they were perfectly normal things like “Hello, how are you, do come in”—but it was the way he said them, all smirking and preening. (Mr. Green rarely tried to be pleasant; as a result he was not very good at it.)
Mrs. Pettigrain was not at all what they’d expected. She was small and thin, with worn old clothes. And she looked both sad and frightened at the same time. This surprised the children. Their father was usually obsessed with appearances, so they realized he must be very keen on having his floors waxed to think it was a good idea to date such an unimpressive-looking lady.
Meanwhile, the wailing continued.
“Where is that dreadful noise coming from?” Nanny Piggins asked the children as she shoved pieces of doughnut in her ears to block out the sound.
“It’s the baby,” explained Samantha, pointing to the stroller Mrs. Pettigrain had left in the corner of the room. (Being the girl, she instinctively knew these things.)
“Has the baby swallowed some kind of police siren?” asked Nanny Piggins.
“No,” explained Derrick. “The baby is crying.” (Being the oldest, he was a font of information.)
“Does it have to do it so loudly?” asked Nanny Piggins. Nanny Piggins was not a great one for crying herself, unless something really terrible happened. Like someone eating the last piece of chocolate cake. Or her trotter getting painfully caught in a vending machine when she was trying to return a health bar and swap it for the chocolate bar she really wanted.
“Babies always cry like that,” said Michael. And he would know because he was only seven years old, so he was the one who had most recently been a baby himself.
“We’ll see you at four o’clock,” said Mr. Green as he grabbed Mrs. Pettigrain firmly by the hand and whisked her out of the house before Nanny Piggins had a chance to reconsider their agreement.
Nanny Piggins and the children found themselves left alone with the baby. They peered in over the edge of the stroller. The baby looked very red in the face and unhappy as it screamed louder than anything that small had a right to be able to scream. “Well, the first thing we need to do is stop it from making that awful wailing sound,” said Nanny Piggins. “Wait here.”
Nanny Piggins hastily disappeared into the kitchen. A moment later she reappeared, carrying a huge slice of chocolate mud cake, saying, “This ought to cheer it up.”
“No!” yelled the Green children in unison. Fortunately Derrick was able to grab Nanny Piggins’s wrist and Samantha was able to put her hand in front of the baby’s mouth before Nanny Piggins could jam the cake in there.
“What’s wrong?” asked Nanny Piggins. “Do you think it would prefer coffee cake?”
“Babies this age don’t eat cake,” explained Michael.
“They don’t?” asked Nanny Piggins, with genuine surprise. “Then what do they eat?”
“They only have milk,” explained Samantha.
“Surely not,” said Nanny Piggins. “Surely you mean they only have milk chocolate.”
“No, Samantha’s right,” added Derrick. “Babies only drink milk.”
“No wonder they are so unhappy and cry all the time,” said Nanny Piggins with genuine sympathy. “The poor little things. Aren’t they even allowed hot chocolate? That’s got milk in it.”
“No, just plain milk,” said Samantha firmly.
Now Nanny Piggins felt like crying, she felt so sorry for the little baby. “But how do we get it to stop crying?” she asked, thinking it would be worth at least trying the chocolate mud cake on the baby, because having bits of jelly doughnut shoved in her ears was getting sticky and unpleasant.
“Babies like being hugged,” suggested Derrick.
“Really?” said Nanny Piggins. This brightened her up. “Michael, run and fetch Boris.”
“Why?” asked Michael.
“Because he’s a bear. And all bears are experts at hugging,” explained Nanny Piggins. “That’s why they named the bear hug after them.”
Michael soon returned with Boris.
“What is that dreadful noise?” asked Boris. He wasn’t very experienced with babies either.
“This poor baby is upset because it can only drink milk,” explained Nanny Piggins.
“Yuck!” said Boris.
“I know,” said Nanny Piggins. “Apparently it needs a hug.”
“Don’t we all,” said Boris as he carefully scooped up the little baby. He personally believed there should be much more hugging in the world.
“You’re not going to crush the baby, are you, Boris?” asked Samantha. She loved Boris dearly, but he did sometimes forget how huge and strong he was.
“Don’t be silly,” said Nanny Piggins. “You wouldn’t ask Einstein if he knew how to add. You wouldn’t ask Mozart if he could hum a tune. So you shouldn’t question a bear’s ability to hug.”
Boris held the helpless little baby close to his chest, surprisingly tenderly for a one-thousand-pound, ten-foot-tall bear, and rubbed it soothingly on the back. Miraculously, the baby stopped crying.
“You see!” said Nanny Piggins, as she deftly ate the baby’s slice of mud cake. “Now we’d better get started with the babysitting. I suggest we take turns. I’ll go first. Put the baby on the sofa, Boris, and I’ll start sitting on it right away.”
Fortunately the Green children were, again, able to grab Nanny Piggins before she actually sat on the infant.
“What’s wrong?” she asked.
“You don’t actually sit on a baby when you babysit,” said Derrick.
“You might squash them if you did,” added Michael.
“Babysitting just means baby-watching,” explained Samantha.
“Then why do they call it babysitting? They really should name it better or there could be some terrible accidents,” said Nanny Piggins.
“Eggs like being sat on,” Boris reasoned. “And they’re baby birds. Are you sure this baby wouldn’t like to be sat on, just for a minute or two?”
The Green children lunged to stop Boris as his bear-sized bottom moved dangerously close to the baby.
“No, we’re definitely just meant to watch after the baby,” insisted Derrick.
“A whole day with a baby. We’ll have to think up something to do with it,” said Nanny Piggins thoughtfully.
“I think most babysitters just sit and watch television while they’re taking care of the baby,” said Samantha, starting to worry what her nanny might have in mind.
“I’m sure we can come up with something better than watching television,” said Nanny Piggins as she looked at the baby closely. “It is a remarkably pretty baby.”
Indeed, as they all looked closely at the baby, they had to admit, it was very pretty. It did not look at all squashed and blobby like so many babies do. And now that her skin was fading back to a nice pink, after the bright red it had turned from crying, she was looking positively lovable.
“What could possibly be better than watching television?” asked Michael, genuinely baffled.
“I know!” exclaimed Nanny Piggins. “Starring on television!”
And so, three hours later, Nanny Piggins, the Green children, Boris, and the baby were sitting in the waiting room of a talent agency.
“Are you sure this is a good idea?” worried Samantha. She was pretty certain Nanny Piggins should ask Mrs. Pettigrain’s permission before signing up her baby to be in a television commercial.
“Of course it’s a good idea,” said Nanny Piggins. “If this baby could talk, she would thank me. Every woman should get a job as soon as possible. Because jobs mean money, and money means not having to rely on anybody else to buy you chocolate cake. Remember that, children.”
“But she doesn’t look like any of the other babies here,” pointed out Derrick.
And he was right. All the other babies waiting with their mothers in the waiting room looked immaculate. They were wearing cute little outfits, and cute little bows in their cute little hair. Even the mothers looked cute. As if they had all been ironed, then driven to the audition lying down so as not to get creased.
The Pettigrain baby, on the other hand, looked completely different. Nanny Piggins had not intended to make the baby dirty when they left the house. But on the way to the audition, they had passed a large puddle of mud that Nanny Piggins, being a pig, found impossible to resist. And she knew the children, particularly Derrick, loved being dirty. So she ordered them and the baby to play in the mud immediately. Nanny Piggins thought very highly of the medicinal benefits of mud. To her mind, rolling in mud was a great way to cool off, moisturize the skin, and clean off any excess soap that might have built up on the body. So they spent a full hour doing that.
Then, because rolling in mud was hungry work, they had all stopped for ice cream. And Nanny Piggins managed to get ice cream all over the baby’s face before the Green children could grab her and convince her that babies do not eat ice cream either.
Then there was the honey. Boris had just happened to be eating from a five-gallon tub of honey when the baby started crying. And being a very kind-hearted bear, he immediately gave her a big bear hug without washing his hands first.
So as the Pettigrain baby sat in the waiting room, she looked very happy, but also extremely dirty, sticky, and brown.
The other mothers were giving Nanny Piggins and the baby sidelong looks of disgust. This did not bother Nanny Piggins. She was used to prejudice. She had suffered a life of pigism, so dirtism was no surprise. She knew humans, particularly clean humans, could be very narrow-minded.
“Pettigrove,” called out a young man carrying a clipboard.
“That’s us,” said Nanny Piggins.
Nanny Piggins, Boris, and the children trooped into the audition room with the baby. It was a large room with a desk in the middle. Behind the desk sat a director, a casting agent, and a young woman operating a video camera.
“Pettigrove,” said the director without even looking up. “What’s the baby’s first name?”
“I don’t know,” admitted Nanny Piggins. “Nobody told us. We call her Baby.”
The director looked up from his paperwork and was immediately dumbstruck. Amazingly, he was not staring at the elegantly dressed pig, the ten-foot-tall bear, or the three mud-covered children, but the Pettigrain baby herself.
“That’s it! She’s perfect!” he exclaimed.
“She is?” said Michael.
“Of course she is,” said Nanny Piggins.
“Finally someone has come to this audition properly prepared,” said the director with delight.
“We have?” queried Derrick.
“All the other mothers have been bringing in their pristine, clean babies. Whereas your baby is filthy and disgusting,” said the director with a huge smile on his face.
“And that’s a good thing?” asked Samantha.
“Of course it’s a good thing,” said the director. “We’re advertising baby cleaning wipes, so we need a baby who knows how to be utterly filthy and love it.”
They all turned to look at the Pettigrain baby cooing happily in Boris’s arms. There was no denying that underneath the caked-on layers of filth, she certainly looked very happy indeed.
Later that afternoon, Nanny Piggins, the children, and Boris were all in the living room playing Lava Floor (where you jump from one piece of furniture to another pretending that the floor is made of deadly boiling lava) when Mr. Green and Mrs. Pettigrain returned. Mr. Green looked very smug. He had been out on a six-hour date and only spent $2.50 on an ice cream for himself (but not one for Mrs. Pettigrain, saying he knew “how ladies like to watch their weight”). Mrs. Pettigrain, on the other hand, looked even sadder and more miserable than when she had arrived that morning. The only thing that cheered her up was seeing her baby and giving her a bear hug.
“Good technique,” whispered Boris from his hiding place behind the curtains. “Not bad for a human.”
“So how did you get on?” asked Mr. Green. Not that he really cared, but he thought it made him look good to have a conversation with his staff.
“We got the baby a job,” said Nanny Piggins. “It’s going to be paid twenty thousand dollars to be in a television commercial for baby wipes.”
“Twenty thousand dollars!” exclaimed Mr. Green, wishing he had a ring so he could get down on his knee and propose to Mrs. Pettigrain right away. He dearly wanted a wife to scrub his floors. But a wife with a baby who could bring in an even greater hourly rate than a tax lawyer was too good to be true. Unfortunately for Mr. Green, however, he never got a chance to propose.
Mrs. Pettigrain was too busy squealing with delight, dancing for joy, and kissing her baby.
“We’re rich, we’re rich, we’re rich!” she cried. “Now I don’t have to go on any more dates with horrible, unattractive, middle-aged men who are too cheap to even buy me an ice cream.”
“I beg your pardon?” said Mr. Green, which was really rather stupid because there was no way he was going to enjoy hearing Mrs. Pettigrain repeat herself.
“I only went out with you because I felt I owed it to Melissa to find her a father,” said Mrs. Pettigrain.
“Ahhh, Melissa, that’s her name.” Nanny Piggins nodded. “I thought she looked like a Melissa.”
“I know a widow living on a cleaner’s wage can’t afford to be picky,” continued Mrs. Pettigrain. “But the mother of a television commercial star can be very picky indeed.”
And so Nanny Piggins’s first attempt at babysitting an actual baby ended very happily. Mrs. Pettigrain was happy she did not have to marry a horrible man like Mr. Green. Baby Melissa was happy to spend a whole day rolling in mud for the commercial. And Nanny Piggins, Boris, and the children were happy because Mrs. Pettigrain gave them a 10 percent commission for getting the baby the job. And they spent all the money on having five tons of mud deposited in Mr. Green’s garden, where they had a wonderful time rolling about, getting every last smear of soap off their bodies.
Nanny Piggins and the Tunnel to China
It all started with Nanny Piggins reading the most brilliant pirate story ever. She became so absorbed in the book that she could not put it down, not even for meals. Derrick, Samantha, and Michael had to feed Nanny Piggins snacks while she kept her eyes glued to the pages. The only time she took a break was at the end of each chapter so she could act it all out for the children and Boris. They loved this bit.
Nanny Piggins was very good at acting out novels. She did all the voices, all the silly walks, and all her own stunts. Her demonstration of Captain Bad Beard’s attack of the Good Ship Lollipop was spectacular. It involved swinging from the living room chandelier with a spatula between her teeth before savaging her imaginary enemy. (Suffice to say, Mr. Green’s ottoman would never be the same again.) So when Nanny Piggins finished the pirate book, they were all very sad.
“I wish we were pirates,” said Nanny Piggins wistfully. “Pirate life has so much going for it: battles, seafood, and, best of all, treasure.”
“It’s almost as glamorous a job as being a nanny,” said Boris.
“I know,” agreed Nanny Piggins. “You children should really consider piracy. Do they ever ask pirates to come and speak to you at your school’s career day?”
“No,” admitted Derrick. “They usually just have accountants come and tell us how accountancy is really exciting.”
“They let people come and lie to you?” asked Nanny Piggins. “Your headmaster is a very immoral man. Still, I suppose you don’t need career advice to become a pirate—you just run away to sea.”
“But the truancy officer gets upset when we don’t go to school,” said Michael. “So I’m sure she’d get really upset if we ran away to live a life of crime on the high seas.”
“She’s such a spoilsport,” sighed Nanny Piggins. (Nanny Piggins did not think much of the truancy officer. She was diabetic, so Nanny Piggins could not bribe her with cake.) “I’m sure you’d learn more as a pirate. After all, pirates need to know how to sew sails, tie knots, and blast cannons at passing ships. Now that’s much more practical than that ‘math’ ”—Nanny Piggins always said math as though it were a swear word—“they insist on teaching you at school.”
“And, I bet they don’t have to wash every day,” mused Derrick. “Nanny Piggins is right. We should become pirates!”
“What?!” worried Samantha. After all, she was a shy girl. She did not like talking to strangers, let alone attacking them on the open ocean.
“We all have to get jobs eventually, so why not take up piracy now?” he continued.
“We’d learn lots of geography, oceanography, and the importance of avoiding scurvy,” piped up Michael.
“And I really like those puffy shirts pirates wear,” added Boris.
“Then that’s decided. We’re all becoming pirates. What do we do first?” asked Derrick.
“We need treasure,” declared Nanny Piggins.
“But where are we going to find treasure?” asked Michael. “Father doesn’t even give us pocket money, so he’s never going to give us treasure.”
“Treasure isn’t something you get given,” explained Nanny Piggins. “It’s something you dig up. It’s always buried.”
“Why?” asked Samantha. It was bad enough she was becoming a pirate, but now it seemed she was doomed to have dirty fingernails as well.
“Because pirates never open bank accounts. They don’t like filling out forms,” said Nanny Piggins.
“But where are we going to find buried treasure?” asked Michael.
“In the ground, of course,” said Nanny Piggins patiently. “There’s probably lots buried in the back garden right now.”
“Really?” said Derrick.
“There’s only one way to find out,” said Nanny Piggins.
And so Nanny Piggins rang the school and said that all three Green children had been struck down with a case of twenty-four-hour smallpox. Then they set to work being pirates. The first thing they needed was the right clothes, so Nanny Piggins took them up to Mr. Green’s bedroom and plundered his wardrobe. He had very boring clothes, but with some dye, permanent markers, a pair of scissors, and a sewing machine, Nanny Piggins was soon able to turn one of Mr. Green’s best suits into five excellent pirate costumes.
Then they went out into the garden with their spades.
“Where do we start?” asked Derrick as he looked around his father’s garden for a likely spot.
“In pirate stories, X always marks the spot,” reasoned Nanny Piggins. “So the first thing we shall have to do is make an X, then dig beneath it!”
And that is exactly what they did. Nanny Piggins marked an X right in the middle of Mr. Green’s perfectly tended lawn (which had only just been professionally restored after having had five tons of mud dumped on it—see Chapter One), then immediately started hacking up the turf with her spade.
Excerpted from Nanny Piggins and The Wicked Plan by Spratt, R. A. Copyright © 2012 by Spratt, R. A.. Excerpted by permission.
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