A Piglet Named Mercy, by Kate DiCamillo/Illustrated by Chris Van Dusen, (Apr. 2019, Candlewick Press), $18.99, ISBN: 9780763677534
Mercy Watson, star of six chapter books, gets her start in this prequel picture book by her team, author Kate DiCamillo and illustrator Chris Van Dusen. Here, we meet the Watsons, an ordinary married couple that feels maybe a little too ordinary. But when a piglet gets bounced out of a truck and ends up on the Watsons’s doorstep, it’s love at first sight. The neighbor, Eugenia Lincoln, may not be thrilled, but her sister, Baby Lincoln, joins the love fest right away. Mr. and Mrs. Watson are over the moon with their new baby, swaddling her in a blanket and giving her a bottle of milk. Baby Lincoln even names her, calling her a mercy, and the name sticks. You don’t need to be familiar with the chapter book series in order to love A Piglet Named Mercy, and it will serve as a nice lead-in to the series, allowing young children to grow up with Mercy. The artwork is bright and cheerful, with a retro twist; Mrs. Watson rocks an apron and headband, and vaccums and sweeps the porch while Mr. Watson trims the hedges, mows the lawn, and washes the car; they have apple cheeks and big smiles. Eugenia and Baby Lincoln have old-school updos and sweaters with long skirts; for someone who’s a conformist, Eugenia is rocking some fabulous blue hair.
A Piglet Named Mercy is sweet reading – a nice adoption story, too – and will bring in new Mercy fans while giving the existing fans a new story to enjoy.