illustrated by James Marshall
Children's book review by Sarah Denslow
Messy, muddy family fun
See the piggy. See the puddle. Hear the pithy, tongue twisting, rhyming language of The Piggy in the Puddle.
Piggy is the story of a mud puddle, a stubborn toddler, reverse psychology, and remembering to have a bit of fun (even when your stubborn toddler is driving you nuts).
As the book opens we find the little piggy getting herself quite muddy indeed in the “muddy, muddy middle” of a puddle. Father pig, as you may imagine, is none too pleased about this circumstance. A brief description of the lesser qualities of mud leads him to conclude that what little piggy needs is some soap.
Of course, little piggy answers “squishy-squashy, squishy-squashy, NOPE!”
Similar discourses from Mother and Brother pig yield the same result. What’s a mother pig to do? Jump in too, of course! Soon the whole family is in the puddle, having a merry time – that is until little piggy decides that they may need some soap.
By this time, however, the whole family is having much too good a time to bother with soap, and The Piggy in the Puddle concludes by telling us that “they all dove way down derry, and were very, very, merry”.
The best part about Piggy in the Puddle is the language. Pomerantz uses wonderful, silly words, repeating them and rhyming them until they take on an almost song-like quality. When I was a camp counselor, I used to read this book to my five-year-olds on Mondays, because it’s almost impossible to read it and not start smiling (and usually I needed a boost on Mondays).
The illustrations match the general silly tone of the text. I personally always tend to crack up a bit when I see the illustration of the father pig, looking very stern and upset – the mustache is just perfect and he is literally standing on a soap box.
The Piggy in the Puddle is a wonderful book for anytime of year, but especially so as spring nears and the mud puddles arrive. Just be prepared with soap in case your own toddler takes a leaf out of little piggy’s book.
Read more of Sarah's book reviews.
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