Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Small Readers: What this story needs is a pig in a wig by Emma J. Virjan

I felt that what this story really needed was a better plot. Or a plot at all. A little harsh perhaps, but I was disappointed.

The story starts out well, with a cheerfully nonsensical rhyme "What this story needs is a pig./A pig in a wig,/on a boat,/in a moat,/with a frog,/a dog,/and a goat on a log." However, it doesn't go anywhere. More and more animals are added, the pig loses her temper when the boat gets crowded, and all the other animals take themselves and their accouterments off to a nearby island. Of course, the pig realizes she's lonely and calls them back, deciding "What this story needs now is...a bigger boat!"

I've always found this particular plot line - that wanting solitude and a smaller group of friends is selfish and lonely - personally annoying. I realize this is a silly story about a pig in a wig, and not an outward condemnation of my inward neuroses, but still....why couldn't the pig invite her friends to play one at a time perhaps? Regardless, it's really not a plot at all, just a list of animals and things, coming and going.

The art made me think of a cross between Mo Willems and Charise Mericle Harper, with simple lines and colors and cartoon touches. It's fun and easy to follow, but didn't impress me as being particularly individual. The text is in a font about midway between the extra large type of a very beginning reader and the smaller type of a chapter book. I did appreciate the layout, which kept the text clearly on bold backgrounds, not blended into the pictures as some easy readers do.

Verdict: This sounds as though I really hate this book, and while I didn't personally click with it, it's a perfectly sound effort. The rhymes are smooth and have a nice rhythm, it's pleasantly humorous, and kids who have devoured all the Elephant and Piggie books will be happy to pick it up. I'll be looking at future installments to see if the plots broaden out a little. An additional purchase.

ISBN: 9780062327246; Published 2015 by HarperCollins; Borrowed from another library in my consortium


Elisa Bergslien said...

My daughter, who is an Elephant and Piggie fanatic, looked at this book and declared it "dumb." She also remarked on the lack of a plot and her verbal description of disappointment with the book sounds remarkably similar to what you wrote, which I am finding startling.

In fact, this is one of the books that made her decide that she must be too old for the books in the picture book area of the bookstore. It is exciting to see her decide that she wants more challenging books but I am a bit sad about how it happened.

Sorry - totally irrelevant to your review. I was just really struck by how much your review matched her analysis of the same book.

Jennifer said...

ha, validation! I think fans of Charise Mericle Harper might go for it more than Elephant and Piggie fans, but it just....lacked. Awww, never too old for picture books! I still read them when I was a teen (-:)