Review – With Nan

I started reading With Nan, and it started out very well. Then suddenly, it made me grin so wide, my teeth hurt. Through the book, goosebumps popped up on my skin, I giggled out loud and then on the last page, I went “Awwwwwwwwwww…”

How many books have done that to you lately?

Simon goes walking with his Nan. And she shows him things. Things that aren’t always what they seem. A leaf … that ups and flies away. A rock … that hippety hops into the distance. A prickle bush … that burrows. This delightful walk unexpectedly uncovers all those camouflaged beauties found in nature that are really living, breathing creatures.

I love the quirky yet charmingly traditional illustrations in this book – segmented and splashed about the pages in a Bob-Graham-esque way. One of the most delicious visual surprises with these illustrations is the series of wordless pages showing Nan interacting with Simon, imitating the animal they had just seen in the world. Adorable.

This book smacks of retro, 70s books that I grew up with as a child, both in regard to the illustrations and typography, but the storyline is modern, succinct and utterly heartfelt – so much so, you really hope you’ll run into Simon and Nan at the local shops one day.

It’s love.

With Nan is published by Windy Hollow Books.


Published by

Tania McCartney

Tania McCartney is an author of children's books and adult non-fiction. Recent books include Riley and the Grumpy Wombat: A journey around Melbourne, and Australian Story: An Illustrated Timeline. She's also an editor, publisher and founder of Kids Book Review.