Today, Julie Nickerson is visiting Kids’ Book Capers to talk about her new Aussie Nibble about the delightful Pippa from Pippa’s Perfect Ponytail.

Pippa’s new adventure, Pippa the Perfect Flower Girl is about Pippa’s very important job as flower girl at Aunty Sophie’s wedding and of course Pippa wants everything to be perfect – but does it turn out that way?

Meet Pippa’s Creator

Julie Nickerson always wanted to write a children’s book, but she didn’t know where to start.

Once I had kids, children’s books filled our home and the desire to write became stronger. Eventually I realized that starting to write is easy – you just need a pen and a piece of paper. I then attended many writing classes and seminars and learnt all I could about the publishing industry. Getting a book published may not be easy, but writing is – you just need to pick up that pen. If you’re a real writer, you won’t be able to put it down.

Julie can you tell us the best and the hardest parts about being a writer?

This is the first job I’ve had where I get to be creative all day, and that’s a lot of fun.

Writing is a very solitary task and sometimes it gets lonely spending all day in your own head. But once your characters come to life, it’s not so lonely.

What are you working on at the moment?

I’m working on another Pippa story as well as a junior novel set in Japan.

Do you have any tips for new writers?

Read! Especially the types of books you’d like to write. Reading is a great way to learn how other authors construct their stories. Plus, reading is fun.

Do your books have any consistent themes/symbols/locations. If so, what are they?

My stories always have some level of humour in them. Laughing is good for you, and if I’m writing a story that makes me laugh, then hopefully it will make other people laugh as well.

Anything else of interest you might like to tell our blog readers?

I talk to myself when I write. No, I’m not crazy, but I like to hear how the words sound together; seeing them on the page isn’t enough. This is why I’d never go to a coffee shop to write like some writers do.

I’m so pleased you said that, Julie. Not many writers admit to talking to themselves, but I’m sure most of us do.

What inspired you to write this book?

I had already written one Pippa book (Pippa’s Perfect Ponytail) and enjoyed working with her character so much that I wanted to write another story about her. I was delighted when my publisher said they’d like to see more of Pippa as well!

Why will kids like it?

Pippa wants everything to be perfect, but as is often the case in real life, things sometimes don’t go according to plan. But Pippa is a resourceful young girl and finds interesting ways to solve her problems. Janine Dawson’s wonderful illustrations add to the humour of the story.

Can you tell me about Pippa and what you like about her?

I like that Pippa is resourceful and looks for solutions for her problems. I dislike that she lives in a house with a cook and I don’t. In my house, the cook is usually me and I don’t find my own cooking very interesting. Either do my children.

Is there something that sets this book apart from others?

I think Janine’s illustrations make this book very appealing to young readers. She has added so many little details that add to the story but don’t appear in the words. For example, if you look closely at the picture of the wedding, you’ll notice a very special wedding guest. Hint: I want its tail.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

Because Pippa’s Perfect Ponytail was already published, I had a clearer image in my head of the characters and the surroundings so I was able to really imagine how the book might look. Imagining Janine’s illustrations made me smile as I wrote it. Also, I’ve never been a flowergirl so I had to imagine what it would be like. I wanted to skip around the room, pretending to throw flower petals. But I’m not going to tell you if I actually did or not …

What was the hardest thing about writing this book?

The first idea I had for this story was Pippa playing a game of hide-and-seek, with Pippa going missing when she finds a perfect hiding place. But it wasn’t very interesting and I needed to add another layer to the story. It took me a long time, but I eventually came up with the idea of there being a wedding, with Pippa being the flowergirl. Having the flowergirl going missing just before the wedding raised the stakes and gave me a lot of room to play with different ideas. It was lots of fun to write after that.

A Review of Pippa the Perfect Flower Girl

In Pippa the Perfect Flowergirl, Pippa is once again, ‘perfectly endearing’.

It’s Aunty Sophie’s wedding and Pippa has been asked to be the flower girl and of course she plans to do it perfectly. But typically for Pippa, nothing goes according to plan. While playing a game of hide and seek, she falls asleep and almost misses the wedding altogether.

She manages to get her dress and hair under control but in her rush to get ready, she has forgotten her basket of red rose petals – the ones she practiced scattering all morning.

Pippa loves Aunt Sophie. How could she possibly be Aunt Sophie’s perfect flowergirl without a basket of petals?

Pippa is devastated, but with her customary resourcefulness, she bounces back and finds the ‘perfect solution’ to her problem.

Pippa the Perfect Flowergirl is a simple story, but it has a strong plot arc and presents experiences and feelings that young readers will easily connect with. There’s rising tension as Pippa races against time to solve her predicament.

I love the optimism of this story. And I admired Pippa’s resilience and the way she doesn’t stop till she finds a solution. She doesn’t dwell on her own predicament but her focus is on making everything perfect for the Auntie she loves.

Pippa the Perfect Flowergirl is a tightly written story and Pippa’s character is strongly drawn so that readers empathise with her and care about what happens to her.

Janine Dawson’s lively illustrations complement the text and bring out the feisty, fun side to Pippa’s character.

Pippa the Perfect Flowergirl is another great Aussie Nibble from Puffin Books, aged for readers 6+. I look forward to seeing what Pippa gets up to next.