Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

Indie Spotlight: Pickerton’s Jiggle

Pickerton’s Jiggle, by Riya Aarini/Illustrated by Mariana Hnatenko, (Feb. 2021, Independently Published), $17.99, ISBN:  978-1735347332

Ages 3-7

Pickerton is a fastidious little pig who greets each day with a smile. He scrubs up and gets ready for school, only to step in a mud puddle! Poor Pickerton is very upset, but realizes that a little dirt doesn’t change who he is. He’s still the same, lovable Pickerton, and sometimes, things happen. He shakes off the mud, and with it, the bad feelings, and goes about his day, ending on an upbeat note about loving and accepting himself for who he is. The rhyme scheme is fun and upbeat, and the illustrations are colorful and cheery, with an animated cartoony pig that kids will enjoy. Author Riya Aarini’s website has more information about her books, including her Ollie series.

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

Mercy Watson gets a picture book prequel!

A Piglet Named Mercy, by Kate DiCamillo/Illustrated by Chris Van Dusen, (Apr. 2019, Candlewick Press), $18.99, ISBN: 9780763677534

Ages 3-7

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.

Posted in Animal Fiction, Preschool Reads, Toddler Reads

Pug and Pig love Halloween!!

Pug & Pig: Trick or Treat, by Sue Lowell Gallion/Illustrated by Joyce Wang, (July 2017, Simon & Schuster), $17.99, ISBN: 9781481449779

Recommended for readers 3-7

They’re back! They’re back! One of my favorite teams in picture books is back! Pug and Pig, the adorable pet duo we met in last year’s Pug Meets Pig, are going trick or treating in their newest story, Pug & Pig: Trick or Treat. That is, if they can agree on a costume: see this cover? Pig is loving life in his costume. It fits nice and snug, the mask is cool, it’s all good. Pug? Just look at Pug. Does that look like a happy Pug? A satisfied with Halloween Pug? Nope. It most certainly does not.

Pug & Pig: Trick or Treat is a story of friendship and compromise. Pug isn’t happy with the Halloween costume, and Pig loves it. But they want to celebrate Halloween together, so what’s a friend to do? Pug takes the situation and spins it to a happy conclusion for everyone, and Pig understands that two friends can have different interests and comfort levels. It’s a great story of negotiation and seeing other points of view for kids, who may not understand why their friends may not love the same things all the time.

Do I need to squeal about Joyce Wan’s art again? Yes, I do. How adorable is this artwork?

Look at the pumpkins: they have Pug’s and Pig’s faces on them! It is physically impossible for me to read a Joyce Wan-illustrated book without squealing the first two or three times. When I read this at my Halloween storytime yesterday, the kids and their caregivers squealed along, too, so I feel completely justified. Parents loved the positive storyline, the fact that it concentrated on the two friends working out their differences together, and the short, simple sentences and repetitive words that make them feel comfortable reading with their kids. One parent asked me if there is a a Pug and Pig book for Christmas too… so, hint, hint, nudge, nudge, Sue Gallion and Joyce Wan.

In the meantime, download this insanely cute activity kit (I’ll be using mine on Monday and Tuesday) and coloring sheets. Tell the Great Pumpkin to leave a copy of Pug & Pig Trick or Treat below your Jack-o-Lantern!

Want to win your own copy of Pug & Pig Trick or Treat? Enter this Rafflecopter giveaway! (U.S. addresses only, please!)

Sue Lowell Gallion is the author of Pug Meets Pig and Pug & Pig Trick-or-Treat (Simon & Schuster/Beach Lane Books). She has two grown-up kids, one grandson, and a black lab mix named Tucker, who all provide writing inspiration. As a printer’s daughter, she has a life-long love of type, paper, and the aroma of ink. She lives in Kansas City, KS. Visit Sue at suegallion.com, follow @SueLGallion on Twitter, and check out her kids’ book recommendations at Goodreads.

 

Posted in Animal Fiction, Fiction, Graphic Novels, Middle Grade, Tween Reads

When Pigs Fly…

Pigs Might Fly, by Nick Abadzis/Illustrated by Jerel Dye, (July 2017, :01First Second), $9.99, ISBN: 9781250176943

Recommended for readers 9-13

Lily Leanchops is the daughter of famous inventor Hercules Fatchops, and she’s certainly inherited her father’s pioneering spirit. While the rest of the folks in Pigdom Plains scoff at the very notion of pigs flying, Lily’s been working on her own flying machine in secret. She’s seen her father’s flying machines fail, and she’s taking everything he’s doing into account as works to create her own flyer. Like her father, she embraces science, not magic (mostly), but when the dangerous Warthogs threaten to invade – flying their own machines, powered by magic, and led by someone very familiar with Lily and her dad – it’s up to Lily to save her home and her town. Even if that means pushing her experimental craft and herself to their limits.

The science versus magic dilemma takes center stage in this graphic novel, which will appeal to kids and, on a deeper level, to older readers who are aware of the science versus faith arguments that frequently occur splashed across social media. Although pigs are the main characters in the story, they are illustrated and given very humanlike qualities and dress – Lily could be another Amelia Earhart or Bessie Coleman in her pilot gear. An interesting parable for current events, with a plot that embraces diversity and working together. A good addition to middle school reading lists and libraries; invite readers to make comparisons between the story and what they see in the world around them and on the news.

Posted in Early Reader, Fiction, Preschool Reads

Pure Adorableness: Pug Meets Pig

pug-meets-pig_1Pug Meets Pig, by Sue Lowell Gallion/Illustrated by Joyce Wan, (Sept. 2016, Simon & Schuster), $17.99, ISBN: 9781481420662

Recommended for ages 3-7

Pug is a happy-go-lucky pup, living the good life. He’s got his own house, his yard work, his food bowl, and his doghouse. When Pig joins the family, though, Pug is not thrilled. His routine is completely thrown off, because Pig is in all of his business; Pig’s eating his food, hanging out with his friends, and sleeping in his doghouse! What’s a Pug to do? Can Pug and Pig work it out so they can live in the same space happily?

This is the sweetest story about change, learning to share, and welcoming a new friend (or family member). Kids will recognize Pug’s feelings, especially kids that may be starting school and meeting new kids (and having to share supplies and toys) for the first time, or even closer to home, welcoming a new sibling or family member to their home. Pug’s reaction to sharing his toys, yard, and bed is spot-on for toddlers and preschoolers learning to share. Ultimately, the good-hearted Pug and eager to please Pig come together to share, and kids will, too.

pug-meets-pig_6

The fun begins with the book’s endpapers, where readers follow along on Pug’s very busy day (and later, Pug’s and Pig’s day). I am in love with Joyce Wan’s adorable art. Her board books, You Are My Cupcake and We Belong Together are in heavy rotation at my storytimes (and in my home). Her Kawaii-inspired art never, EVER ceases to make me squeal, and Pug Meets Pig brings on the cute attack thousandfold. I almost passed out from cute overload. True story.

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Bonus goodies: Joyce Wan’s website offers a discussion and activity guide, plus an activity kit that will see quite a bit of action at my library. There are also coloring sheets galore! Author Sue Gallion’s webpage also links to the activity kit and coloring sheets, and to Publisher’s Weekly‘s starred review. The book has also been selected for the Society Of Illustrators 2016 Original Art Show, an annual exhibit which showcases the year’s best children’s picture books.

Adorable art plus a fun, sweet story that kids will love? Pug Meets Pig has it all. Add this one to your storytime collections, and put it in cuddle time storytime rotation. My little guy can’t get enough of this book, and neither can I. We’re getting a Pug & Pig Trick or Treat book in 2017, so watch this space for more of my incoherent squealing over this series.

 

Posted in Preschool Reads

Book Review: Bumble-Ardy, by Maurice Sendak (HarperCollins, 2011)

bumble-ardyRecommended for ages 2-6

Beloved author Maurice Sendak’s Bumble-Ardy is inspired by a short, developed by Mr. Sendak and Jim Henson, for Sesame Street.

Bumble-Ardy is a young pig who has never had a birthday party because his family “frowned on fun”. When he was eight, his parents “got ate” and he went to live with his Aunt Adeline. Finally, for his ninth birthday, Aunt Adeline gives him a “hotsy tottsy cowboy costume” and leaves for work; Bumble decides to throw himself a masquerade birthday party that quickly escalates out of control, just as his aunt returns home from work. Sendak uses watercolors to illustrate his story, and the rapidly escalating party brings to mind the Wild Rumpus from Where The Wild Things Are.

The number nine is a major theme throughout the book: the party takes place at ten past nine; Aunt Adeline kisses Bumble-Ardy nine times over nine, and the number shows up in a great deal of  the artwork, from a birthday candle on Bumble’s cake to the signs partygoers make for the celebration.  Readers and listeners will enjoy the story of a little pig who wanted a birthday party so badly that he threw one for himself; they will also be reassured by the theme of forgiveness; Aunt Adeline can be angry, yet still kiss him  and tell him she loves him.

This would be a fun addition to a birthday-related read-aloud. I would set up the read-aloud like a birthday party, with mini-cupcakes rather than cake, and milk, and decorate the storytime area as I would for a birthday party, with streamers and a sign. I would ask if there were any birthday boys or girls in the room, and have birthday ribbons for any birthday children to wear. Singing the Happy Birthday is a must, and the Perry Public Library has a Happy Birthday theme that includes other birthday-related songs and rhymes. Bumble-Ardy would also be a fun book to use a flannel board with, particularly for the party scenes.