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Saturday, January 1, 2011

A Pig Parade is a TERRIBLE Idea, written by Michael Ian Black and illustrated by Kevin Hawkes. Simon & Schuster, 2010. $21.99 ages 4 and up

"Even if pigs wanted to hold the balloons
instead of finding filthy puddles on the street
to lie in, they couldn't do it. Because while pig
hooves are good for digging up wild mushrooms,
when it comes to holding giant parade balloons,
they are simply not up to the job."

What a perfect post-Christmas gift arrived from Loretta at Simon & Schuster Canada to help me welcome the new year with wonderful books to read and share. So much fun, and I am going to go on a roll and tell you about each one of them today! Another happy new year gift from me to goes!

There was a time when Breanna thought that the only pet in the world she wanted was a pig! And then, her Uncle Dave took her to the winter fair and her first reaction as they stepped through the doors was: "EWWW! What's that smell?" You guessed it...the pig barn! Never one to back down from strong reactions or opinions, she quickly realized she had made a big mistake, and has not pined for a pig these many years.

It is the deadpan humor that makes this book so much fun! The narrator is quick to warn his audience that a pig parade might not be as perfect as one would think. In our imagination their friendly, portly, porcine presence might seem apt; but, we are cautioned to think seriously about it prior to following through on that whimsical flight of fancy.

It's easy to picture cartoon-like images of pigs dressed to the nines and marching proudly with instruments blaring parade fare; then, we turn the page and are faced with a slovenly boar (or sow) slobbering over an ear of corn stuffed in its snout. Apparently pigs hate marching; they would rather snuffle. Appropriately they are caught in full 'snuffle', checking out parade leftovers....bubble gum, dropped ice cream cones, popcorn bags and lost soothers. The close-up image is enough to deter from us from any further consideration of such an event.

It doesn't end there though....they also don't like uniforms, or floats. Well, they do like root beer floats! Apparently they don't like marching band music. They prefer sad, country ballads like "I Just Wanna Plop into This Bucket of Slop", so inappropriate for a parade. You get my drift?

Kevin Hawkes has created brilliantly funny artwork to accompany the humorous, cautionary text.  He switches back and forth from surreal cartoon images to ghastly reality, showing clearly that the premise of a pig parade is not worthy of further consideration. I will not spoil the surprise ending, but I guarantee it will have you hooting and wondering about a sequel.

Kids will want to read this book again and again...they will never tire of the laughter and fun associated with that first telling. It will not get old! So, if you want to lower your level of stress and enjoy a real laugh-out-loud moment following the magic and mayhem that was Christmas, get your hands on this book!

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