This is the first Mercy Watson book I've read. I admit it. I'm not a huge fan of Kate DiCamillo. Hey, she has lots of fans, she doesn't need little me. I do, of course, recommend her to appropriate readers. (Although I nearly wacked that one patron over the head, when she explained to me that she was reading her eleven-year-old son all of Kate DiCamillo's books. Even though he hated them. Because she liked them.)
Anyways. If you, like me, have not previously encountered Mercy Watson, here's her basic story. Mercy Watson is a pig. She lives with Mr. and Mrs. Watson in a charmingly old-fashioned town. Mercy Watson is slightly anthropomorphized and her owners treat her almost like a human, but she remains completely and always a pig. And in this story....what happens when you take a butter-loving pig to the movies? The movies where they serve real butter on their popcorn? Chaos, that's what happens.
This series is on the young side of beginning chapter books with limited text that's very bold and easy to read. There's plenty of quirky turns of phrase and kooky humor for kids to enjoy, but the overall effect of these books is sweet family fun.
The main draw, to my mind, is the luciously colored illustration by Chris Van Dusen. They somehow manage to create a 50s style without looking outdated and they just...glow. Really.
Verdict: Kids who like the slightly wacky with plenty of sweet and don't want to give up their favorite illustrated picturebooks will enjoy this laid-back beginning chapter book.
ISBN: 978-0763636449; Published July 2009 by Candlewick; Borrowed from the library; Purchased for the library