Nanny McPhee: The Tales of Nurse Matilda [Christianna Brand & Edward Ardizzone]

Penulis/Author: Christianna Brand (1964, 1967, 1974)
Ilustrasi/Illustrated by: Edward Ardizzone (1964, 1967, 1974)
Penerbit/Publisher: Bloomsbury
Cetakan/Edition: Paperback omnibus, 2005
Kategori/Category: Children fiction
ISBN: 0-7475-7899-0

Initially known as The Tales of Nurse Matilda, the collection is now re-published as Nanny McPhee to match the major motion picture recently released by Universal.

Once upon a time there was a huge family of children; and they were terribly terribly naughty! It is very difficult to count how many of them because sometimes they appear as 6 of them but in another time they become 20! It is easier just to divide them into Big Ones, Middling Ones, Little Ones, Littlest Ones and the Baby. Their parents, Mr & Mrs Brown have tried so many agency to get the nanny and nurse for the kids but somehow the kids always find their way to get rid of these poor nannies and nurses. For those wild kids they need a wild nurse! There’s only one person that could help Mr & Mrs Brown: Nurse Matilda.

All they should do is to hope and boom! Nurse Matilda appears at the front door. She was the ugliest person you ever saw in your life. Her hair is tied as a bun, sticking straight from the back of her head like a teapot handle, her face is round and wrinkly, her eyes look like two black boot-buttons but the most apparent thing on her face is the huge front Tooth that sticking out like a tombstone over her bottom lip.

Nurse Matilda gave 7 lessons to the Brown kids:

  1. To go to bed when they’re told

  2. Not to gobble their foods

  3. To do their lessons

  4. To get up when they’re called

  5. To close doors after them

  6. To wear their best clothes when they have to

  7. Not to run away

In addition to that, she’ll teach the children to learn to say “please” and “thank you”.

All Nurse Matilda has to do is to thump her stick on the floor and “something” will happen. If the kids are doing stupid things and refused to stop after being told, Nurse Matilda will make them continue doing those things until they become exhausted and beg for mercy to stop. If they pretend to be sick, they will get real sickness and be not allowed to get up from their beds plus they will get to taste of Nurse Matilda’s special medicines.

When the kids learnt their lessons well, they could actually see a little smile on Nurse Matilda’s face and realised that she wasn’t that ugly at all. More and more they learnt their lesson the prettier Nurse Matilda had become. Nurse Matilda comes when the kids need her but don’t want her, and she’ll go when they want her but don’t need her anymore. But no matter how many times they become sweet and nice kids after meeting Nurse Matilda, somehow they always go back to their naughty habits after she left thus Nurse Matilda has to come again and again to “teach” them lessons.

This book contains 3 tales of Nurse Matilda. The above is from the first tale, the second one is called “Nurse Matilda Goes to Town” where she nursed the kids when they went to visit Great-Aunt Adelaide who lived in the city and the third one is “Nurse Matilda Goes to Hospital” where she taught the kids to never again make fun of a sick person.

After the first tale, I found the next two are quite similar in pattern. They are still wild and extremely naughty but I lost the exitement and the surprise factor. Maybe ‘cos I am just to old to read and enjoy these kind of tales? The most annoying thing is the fact that I cannot familiarise myself with the children’s names because from one scene to another they keep changing and more names are introduced. It’s ridiculous. I remember Sebastian and the Baby ‘cos they both were mentioned quite frequently though. The name of “Nurse Matilda” sounds quite dramatic for me but the movie is called “Nanny McPhee”. I assumed that as the tales were initially published in 1960’s when nurse was still the common person to take care the kids, it will make more sense now to simply use “Nanny”. Even in Indonesia, we also use the word “nurse/suster” to address nanny/babysitter (inherited from the Dutch?).


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