I have been discovering a lot of wonderful hidden gems recently, and David McPhail’s Pig Pig series is no exception. Pig Pig began his adventures in the early 198os, but I guarantee that if you read these book to the right child–or group of children, as I recently did–they will enjoy and relate to his adventures just as much today as when Pig Pig was published.
McPhail’s title character (Pig Pig, of course), is an imaginative and sometimes stubborn young pig. His world is very much like that of a real child, except he is, of course, a pig. His adventures generally begin with a conversation with his mother, but they are always about independence. His relationship with his mom is sweet and realistic, and she always encourages him to try new things (these things include going to camp, taking an adventure-filled bike ride, and getting a job). Although McPhail chooses familiar subjects, the outcomes are never mundane (a four-year-old boy actually exclaimed “Whooooaaaaa!” as I was reading Pig Pig Rides). His vibrant, imaginative illustrations and accessible text are perfectly matched, and make great read-alouds for ages 3-7.
Over breakfast, Pig Pig informs his mother about all the wonderful feats he intends to accomplish that day, such as jumping 500 elephants on his motorcycle and driving a rocket to the moon.
While waiting to have his picture taken, Pig Pig practices saying “Cheese” as he looks through a photo album and is amazed at the outcome.
Pig Pig thinks of all the jobs he could get, from cook to auto mechanic, and is enthusiastic about performing similar tasks for his family at home.
Pig Pig finally agrees to go to camp for the summer and has a wonderful time.