Friday, April 5, 2013

Review + #Giveaway ~ A Spoonful of Sugar by Brenda Ashford
















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.

Excerpt:

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
There are 3 types of books I don’t accept for review Memoirs/ biographies, YA, and historical - I broke my own rule when I accepted this book for review. However, when I read the synopsis I was so intrigued by Brenda Ashford’s extraordinary life story that I knew I would read it immediately upon its arrival. One of the most surprising things I discovered was that this book isn’t presented like a typical memoir. It is arranged more like a diary/scrapbook with recipes, nursery rhymes, lullabies, pictures and of course bits of Nanny’s Wisdom throughout – each turn of the page is filled with anticipation of a new discovery. As with most memoirs not all of the moments of her life were happy but, I felt that each sentiment was written with precision; I felt and she felt. 

Disclosure: This ebook was provided to me free of charge by Partners In Crime Tours for the sole purpose of an honest review. All thoughts, comments, and ratings are my own.

Author Bio:

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!

One Winner will receive a Hardback copy of A Spoonful of Sugar.
The recipient must be a US or Canadian resident.

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Stop by & you could win a copy for yourself!

7 comments:

  1. “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.”

    Too good.

    mestith at gmail dot com

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  2. I'm so glad you enjoyed this book. After reading all the rave reviews, I HAVE to read this one. Superb review and post. Thank you for sharing!!

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  3. "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.”

    Love this.
    Wish more people would be truthful.

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

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  5. “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.”

    With todays reliance on electronics this pearl of wisdom is often forgotten.

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  6. My grandma had sayings AND old wives' cures that she passed on to us. 'You can catch more flies with honey than vinegar.' 'The early bird gets the worm.' 'If mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.' Champagne tastes on a beer budget.' I could go on, lol. She had a TON of these pearls of wisdom:)

    cc_clubbs[at]yahoo[dot]com

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    Replies
    1. Congrats Cindi you have won a copy of A spoonful of sugar. I hope you enjoy it. Heather

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