I often hear people saying that anybody could write a children’s book: plots are simple, characters are often one dimensional, and as long as there are bright colours and a giraffe involved somewhere, you should be on to a winner. But just like peeling a melon or riding an emu, writing a good quality children’s book is a lot harder than you might think.
I began writing children's books due to my niece and nephews demanding new and exciting bedtime stories after having exhausted their own library. When a couple of the stories got some good reviews - as stated by the children (the harshest of critics), I began to develop the stories in more detail. For my first book, the process of postulation to paperback took around 18 months and was a tremendous learning curve. The now infamous 'Nana's Knickers' hit the shelves in the summer of 2014.
The book takes the reader on a fast-paced and amusing adventure as Nana wakes up to find that her favourite pair of knickers have gone missing. Disaster. On the excellent advice of her grandchildren she retraces her steps from the previous day in an attempt to solve the mysterious disappearance of her prestigious pants.
I was very keen to produce a book that was both fun and easy to read but which would also broaden a child’s vocabulary - something I feel that every book should do. The font was chosen particularly to help young children who are learning letter shapes and any plain backgrounds in the book have been painted yellow to help those suffering from dyslexia see the text more clearly. All the illustrations are hand-painted and full of colour and detail with new things to see and find with every read, and I hope this is a book that both children and adults will find entertaining time and time again.
Since being published, 'Nana's Knickers' has been a best seller in a number of high-street outlets and on Amazon, and has received fantastic reviews on Mumsnet, Amazon and various social media sites. The book was chosen by the patients of Alder Hey Children's Hospital as the book to launch their new reading initiative 'Word on the Ward' and I have been privileged to have been invited to some fantastic schools across the country to read the book to young pupils and answer questions they have about creative writing.
"We all enjoyed reading it and I felt that the quality of the rhyme and the illustrations were both very high."
Alison Keeley - Booktrust
"We love the book, Nana's Knickers, it's fantastic! It's such fun and the illustrations are wonderful. It's the most popular book on the ward!"
Irene Axon - Alder Hey Children's Charity
"Nana's Knickers is the best selling children's book that we have ever stocked"
Linghams Bookshop - Heswall
"My son (aged 3) really enjoyed it and actually sat still throughout, which is praise indeed - only something Julia Donaldson had achieved prior to this!"
Georgina Edwards - Mumsnet Chelmsford
"I bought this book for my grandson and the text and pictures are so engaging. This will become a family favourite for many years to come."
K Sinclair - Amazon Customer
"It's a good title, and as we know knickers are always a winner. The scansion is consistantly good which is itself surprisingly rare, I find!"
Suzanne Carnell - Macmillan Children's Books
"It flows beautifully and the rhyming keeps even the smallest children fixated on the story. Nana's Knickers has quickly become a book that all the family can enjoy together."
Sarah Debnam - Mumsnet Newport & Gwent
"Wow, this story really packs a punch! It's a jolly, calamitous read that moves along at a very neat pace. The character of Nana is very humorous and I really enjoyed the way she speaks and the way that Nico has written her."
Maria Tunney - Walker Books
"Charlie Meyer's beautifully coloured hand-painted illustrations on the front cover of a very flummoxed Nana had my daughter intrigued. Her 'Ooohs' and 'Ahhhs' before we had even opened the first page were definitley a good sign."
Julia Roche - Mumsnet Rutland & Leicestershire
"I really enjoyed how the comic tone of the story was emphasised by the use of rhyme."
Emma Layfield - Hodder Children's Books
"Even on the fourth time round my daughter was finding new things, the little mouse was a particular favourite."
Julie Harwood - Mumsnet Peterborough
"Absolutely fantastic! Read it last night to my grandchildren and they couldn't stop laughing, the four year old didn't get past the word 'knickers' on the book cover! At times even I was wondering what was coming next."
Brain C - Amazon Customer
"It's great fun and romps along at a terrific pace, Nico is clearly very talented."
Rona Selby - Andersen Press