Michael Ian Black's A Pig Parade Is a Terrible Idea
illustrated by Kevin Hawkes
Book review by Justine Greer
By the creators of the also-hilarious Chicken Cheeks, A Pig Parade is a Terrible Idea wins on all fronts.
Author Michael Ian Black’s cunning, deftly dry humour will have audiences of all ages snorting with laughter; illustrator Kevin Hawkes' juxtaposition of cheerful pig perfection and bleak pig reality is a perfect complement to the truly funny prose.
This book has all the thoughtful laughs of a finely-tuned – and family-friendly – stand-up comedy routine.
A pig parade would be awesome, right? Wrong! Such parade would crash and burn, because pigs are notorious for having:
- an aversion to marching, preferring to snuffle their way through life;
- too much dignity to squeeze themselves into parade-appropriate uniforms;
- no oinks to give about floats (of the non-root beer variety);
- bad taste in music; and,
- hooves, which are not ideal for holding giant parade balloons. Said balloons will therefore float away into outer space.
But never fear! If you have your heart set on watching an unlikely animal parade, pandas are the way to go.
Kids and adults alike will be rolling on the floor while the pig-headed characters of A Pig Parade is a Terrible Idea nix any ideas about just how great porcine parade activities could be.
The hilarious text provides, arguably, some of the most original lines in contemporary children’s literature: “Perhaps they consider majorette uniforms unflattering. Nonsense. Everyone looks sharp in a majorette uniform, even pigs (especially pigs!)”
Illustrator Hawkes’s bold acrylics offer views of both pig parade ideal and reality, which are successfully contrasted through the use of opposing line styles and colour tone.
The fantasy is highly stylized, with its cartoonish performers decked out in snazzy primary colours and bursting with enthusiasm; conversely, the “real” pigs let it all hang out in their natural piggy proportions, muddy, muted skins and grumpy personalities.
The porky little fella whose rumpled majorette jacket has been bungee-corded onto his potbelly is just one of a cast of porcine miscreants sure to steal the heart of even the most ardent bacon lover.
Children’s books that manage to both entertain and teach important lessons are a wonderful tool for every parent’s kit. A Pig Parade is a Terrible Idea is not really that kind of book; however, it is essential that a child WANT to read, and books celebrating unlimited, uninhibited imagination should never be discounted.
Read it because it is hilarious, because it is never a bad idea to spend a few minutes belly laughing with your kids, and because … who hasn’t wanted to see pigs parade?
Also illustrated by Kevin Hawkes: And to Think That We Thought That We'd Never Be Friends (reviewed on site).
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