Pigs are a familiar animal to most of us. Pigs have been a domestic animal for a long time, and they have been introduced in folktales in many cultures. A lot of people have an impression that pigs are dirty and dummy. But, pigs are the smartest domestic animal according to many scientific studies such as Science section on NBC News.com . They are also the cleanest one. Many people regard them dirty by relating them to the mud. But, the reason they roll around in the mud is to stay cool. Some people even prefer a pig as a pet as they are clean, smart, and adorable.
Several books on pigs are introduced herein. I hope our children learn valuable lessons from these books.
(Author & Illustrator: Ian Woodward Falconer, Age range: 2~5 years)
Olivia is a little lady pig who is good at a lot of things. Olivia has a family: father, mother, brother, and two pets (dog and cat).
She loves going to the beach. On the beach, she built an enormous sandcastle when her mother showed her how. She also loves to go to the museum. She has her favorite painting over there. After observing an abstract painting in the museum, she mentions that she could draw the picture in five minutes. When she got home, she made a mess on the wall by drawing an abstract picture she saw in the museum.
Before going to bed, Olivia wanted to read five books, and her mom said one book. After negotiation, they agreed to read three books before Olivia went to bed.
Olivia is authored and illustrated by Ian Falconer (1959~). In total, there are Olivia series of 11 books. The list of all the books is shown in the following table. Olivia is the first one in the series of 11 books.
Book Title Published Year
Olivia Saves the Circus 2001
Olivia's Opposites 2002
Olivia Counts 2002
Olivia...and the Missing Toy 2003
Teatro Olivia 2004
Olivia Forms a Band 2006
Olivia Helps with Christmas 2007
Olivia Goes to Venice 2010
Olivia and the Fairy Princesses 2012
Olivia the Spy 2017
The book is about a curious young lady pig called Olivia. Its graphics are quite impressive. There are a lot of empty spaces throughout the book. These spaces enable the reader to focus on the main characters and the objects. All the pages throughout the book show mainly black and white colors, while only emphasizing red color. The scene of the built sandcastle is beyond imagination and spellbinding. Also, her comment that she can draw the abstract picture in five minutes makes us laugh. Probably, a lot of us have thought the same thing.
At the end of the book, the scene of bed-time reading is cute. Olivia and her mother negotiate how many books they will read. Their discrepancy of five and one is reached at three after a brief negotiation. Many young children will think the same way as Olivia, and they will love this book.
We are in a book
(Author and Illustrator: Mo Willems, Age range: 3~5 years)
A pig named Piggie and an elephant named Gerald are sitting together, and they think someone is looking at them. They look straight into the reader, and Piggie even approaches the reader to see who it is. They find out that it is a reader. Then, they figure out that they are in a book. They are happy to be in a book. Then, they try to interact with the reader. They ask the reader to say banana and start laughing. Before the end of the book, they mention that they want more communication with the reader and ask him/her to reread the book.
“We are in a book” is written by Mo Willlems (1968~ ). It is one of the book series of Elephant and Piggie.
In the book, two friends (Piggie and Gerald) interact with the reader in an interesting way. A reader will feel that Piggie and Gerald are looking at him or her. The scene where Piggie is approaching the reader makes the book very engaging. This book is fun reading for young children. It is highly recommended.
Wolf Won’t Bite!
(Author and Illustrator: Emily Gravett, Age range: 2~6 years)
Three pigs have caught a wild wolf. Three pigs treat the wolf as if it is a tamed pet by making him stand in a stool, dressing him in a bow, riding him like a horse, making him jump through hoops, lifting him off the ground, making him dance, and shooting him out of a cannon. Three pigs even place their heads between the wolf’s jaws thinking that wolf won’t bite. But the wolf tries to bite the pigs, and they run away from the wolf.
Wolf Won’t Bite! is written in 2011 by Emily Gravett (1972~). The book will remind the readers of a folk tale, the Three Little Pigs. In Wolf Won’t Bite!, the role of two sides (the wolf and three pigs) are completely reversed. Three little pigs keep harassing the wolf from a gentle method such as placing him on a stool to more serious ones such as shooting him out of a cannon and pretending to cut it with a saw.
The illustrations in the book will make our children laugh a lot. Complete reversion between the predator and the victim can be somewhat exhilarating to our children.
Little Pig Saves the Ship
(Author & Illustrator: David Hyde Costello, Age range: 3~7 years)
Little Pig wanted to go to a sailing camp with his brothers and sisters, but he couldn’t go because he was too young. Instead, his eldest brother, Tiny, gave him a book of sailors’ knots and a piece of rope. After his brothers and sisters were gone, Little Pig had a lot of spare time, and he practiced knotting. A couple of days later, his grandpa and Poppy came over. Poppy showed a beautiful model ship which he made for Little Pig. Little Pig helped Poppy with completing the model ship by sewing the sails. Then, he and Poppy sailed the ship in a stream from Monday until Saturday. On Saturday, a gust of wind blew the ship into the current, and they chased the ship to save it. It was not easy to save the ship even for Poppy, but Little Pig saved it with the knotted rope from a bridge.
When they came home, his brothers and sisters returned from the camp and praised him for saving the ship. The next day, Little Pig played with his brothers and sisters in the stream.
The book’s illustrations are dynamic with three main patterns: 1) picturesque watercolor illustrations covering the full page, 2) comic-book style illustration, 3) illustrations covering the center of the page with empty space as a background.
The book is about family relationships. Little Pig has a lot of caring brothers and sisters. One interesting relationship is his grandpa and Poppy. They look like a gay couple. Introducing this kind of relationship in the Children’s books is somewhat unusual, but our children may consider them as good friends.
It can be an encouraging book for young children. Although Little Pig was young, he did save the ship with a brilliant idea of using a piece of knotted rope. Children can be encouraged to accomplish a lot of things through reading this book.
Rufus Goes To School
(Author: Kim T. Griswell, Illustrator: Valeri Gorbachev, Age range: 3~6 years)
Rufus is a pig. Unlike other pigs, he loved to look at every picture of a book, but he could not read. So, he visited the principal of a school. He thought that he was prepared by bringing his backpack, but he was not accepted. Rufus kept trying by bringing a lunchbox and a blanket. But the principal’s response was still the same by saying, “No pigs in school”.
Then, Rufus showed his favorite book to the principal and mentioned, “I want to learn to read this book”. Then, the principal finally said “yes”, and brought him to a classroom. Rufus enjoyed leaning with his classmates. What he enjoyed the most in the class was story-time because it provided him with a room for dream.
The book talks about a couple of important lessons.
1. Rufus’ desire to learn unlike other pigs
2. his courageous decision of going to school to learn
3. his repeated trial of getting into school even when the principal said no.
4. the importance of dreaming
The scene on the first page is worthy of attention. Unlike other pigs, Rufus really wanted to learn how to read. Then, he decided to go for it. After setting up his goal, he ceaselessly tried until his goal was reached. I love the content of this book as well as the way the message is presented.