My four year old granddaughter Jasmine loves pigs. She loves pigs so much she's asked me to start a whole new theme on AmoXcalli - a reviewing the pigs of kidlit series. Being utterly helpless where Jasmine is concerned and being quite fond of pigs myself, I agreed.
I never knew much about pigs before Jasmine. Her obsession with them started with Pig, the very old and venerable Pig who was won by her Auntie Bernie (my daughter Bernadette) in the claw game at Carrows over a family out for dinner night when Jasmine was only six months old. Jasmine immediately fell in love with Pig and he has rarely Extreme Pig Makeover at Christmas and soon his shredding and threadbare material will be patched with my crochet hook and pink yarn because the material just can't survive being sewn yet again. I've bought replacement pigs and Jasmine loves them but Pig is Pig and nothing else will do. I've learned more techniques in stitches because of Pig and for that I am grateful. Pig must survive at all costs because the alternative is a broken hearted little girl and that I just can't handle.
As Jasmine has gotten older her love for all things pig has grown. I have watched Babe and Babe, Pig in the City more times than I can count. I wish I could find a copy of the wonderful Babe, The Gallant Pig on which these movies were based. We've watched Charlotte's Web - the animated older version with the wonderful Paul Lynde as the rat and the new Dakota Fanning Charlotte which was charming. Being book lovers (and oh boy does Jasmine love books!) first one pig book drifted into her shelves and now there are at least 40. I do believe she is amassing the largest Pig book collection in California. If you know of any Pig books, please do tell us and we will hunt them down for her library.
I think children's book authors and illustrators must love pigs as much as Jasmine does because we sure find many wonderful books about them! Pigs do seem to be quite well thought of. They even have a patron saint of swineherds - St. Anthony. They get their own literature category.
I asked Jasmine which books to start her Pig book series with and she chose the following two books. I do hope you enjoy them as much as we have! We're also coining a term which is kind of a pun. Piglit. Not piglet. Piglit.
Piglet and Papa
Author: Margaret Wild
Illustrator: Stephen Michael King
Publisher: Abrams Books for Young Readers
Piglet and Papa is the charming and warm sequel to Piglet and Mama. It's a perfect book for the little ones with it's simple and beautifully told story. Piglet has hurt feelings after misunderstanding Papa's gruffness and distraction. She sets off believing he doesn't love her and encounters one animal after another and asks each if they love her. Each replies that they do love her but that there is someone who loves her even more. Tired, discouraged, hungry and in desperate need of a hug Piglet heads home to find not only Papa waiting for her but that he loves her best of anything in the world.
Stephen Michael King's simple yet evocative watercolors capture the farm animals and make the pigs something really special and fun. He manages to convey so much emotion in the faces of his pigs. Jasmine laughed with delight at Piglet who is sweet then forlorn. Her little face is unbelievably funny as she jumps on Papa's belly. Her joyous little smile will charm little children as will the story of the love between a Papa and his Piglet.
About the author
Margaret Wild is Australia's leading picture book writer, with wide acclaim in countries across the globe. She was born in Eschew, a small town in South Africa. Her brother's death at the age of seven inspired Jenny Angel, Margaret's picture book with illustrator Anne Spudvilas, which won the Children's Book Council of Australia Picture Book of the Year Award in 2000. Margaret has written over forty books.
About the Illustrator
Stephen Michael King's first picture book won the Family Award for Children's Books in Australia. He lives in Sydney, Australia.
The next book isn't about a pig - it's about a princess, another of Jasmine's favorite things. She does prefer pigs to princesses but this story has both and that makes it special to her. What makes it special to me is Cornelia Funke and darned goo storytelling.
Author: Cornelia Funke
Illustrator: Kersten Meyer
Translated by Chantal Wright
Publisher: Chicken House (Scholastic)
Isabella is a real, honest-to-goodness princess as are her sisters. The thing is Isabella would much rather be doing something else besides wearing fancy dresses and having her ladies in waiting well waiting on her. In fact, Isabella is so sick of her life that she sits in front of the window looking at the moon and sighing. One day she gets so fed up that she hides under the bed and refuses to be a princess anymore. As a punishment for various things, her father sends her to work in the pigsty where she learns quite a bit about pigs and how things are done. She can even educate her father!
Princess Pigsty is wonderful story about a strong willed heroine who teaches by example that doing is so much better than just sitting around having people do things for you. It shows little children that we can make our own path in life if we're just brave enough, determined enough to do it. Jasmine cheered Isabella on in her quest to work with the pigs. I loved that Isabella loved doing chores over being waited upon.
The illustrations are wonderful. Bold, deep colors and regal strokes of the brush covey the lush life of the palace with a comedic flair. The pigs are wonderfully illustrated as well with quizzical and sometimes surprised faces. Isabella's angry face as she screams that she is bored is classic.
I also loved the bold faced type with words like Yuckety Yuck. Jasmine loves this story told out loud over and over. There's something about the rhythm of it that she loves. It's very bouncy, happy and upbeat.
We hope you enjoy our piglit. Look for more soon!