Friday, September 19, 2014

Pigsticks and Harold and the incredible journey by Alex Milway

Pigsticks comes from a long line of noble and illustrious pigs. But what has he done to earn his place in the family history? Nothing....YET. After some deliberation, he decides to follow the example of his ancestor, Colonel Pigslet, and explore the world! But, unlike the Colonel, he's going to make it back alive. But exploring the world is a messy and difficult business and Pigsticks knows just what he needs - an assistant! After many trials, he decides upon Harold the hamster. Harold isn't quite sure how he became Pigsticks' assistant, but he's willing to go along with the journey as long as there's plenty of cake at the end! They travel through deep jungles, hot deserts, and climb a mountain, finally reaching the Ends of the Earth. Unfortunately, someone else got here first....quite a lot of someones...and they don't appear to be friendly...

The illustrations are gently humorous with colorful, rounded animals and broad swathes of color in the various backgrounds of their explorations - a steamy green jungle, sandy desert, etc. The illustrations range from spots between the text to full page spreads.

The book falls into that little area between easy readers and beginning chapter books. It has the larger, rectangular shape of an easy reader, but includes chapters, a smaller font, and more complex vocabulary. It's more a blended graphic novel or illustrated chapter book with some panel-like illustrations (progressive action in the illustrations) and a few speech bubbles. Think of Kate DiCamillo's Bink and Gollie series, but funnier!

Verdict: I was at first a little doubtful about this, as it seemed a little overly British for my audience, but the tongue-in-cheek humor, the cute illustrations, and friendly text - simple for beginning readers, but not too simple for those capable of picking up subtle humor - won me over. If you're looking for more beginning chapter books and/or graphic novels for younger readers, this is a must-have title!

ISBN: 9780763666156; Published 2014 by Candlewick; Borrowed via inter-library loan; Added to my library's wishlist

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