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Thursday, July 18, 2019

Harold and Hog Pretend For Real, written and illustrated by Dan Santat. Disney Hyperion, Hachette. 2019. $10.99 ages 4 and up

"But they are 
best friends, like us.

If we cannot pretend
to be best friends -

Then maybe ...


The newest in the Elephant and Piggie Like Reading! series adds Dan Santat's voice to the mix. And what a voice it is! My granddaughters are here right now and, although they have not read each of the Elephant and Piggie books, they sure think this one is funny. They may not understand the nuances of personality presented, but they love the art and have much to discuss every time we read it ... and that happens often.

Harold and Hog are huge fans of Elephant and Piggie. When they notice the famed duo is reading this book about them, they make the decision to pretend to be their heroes. Mr. Santat is obviously ready for a romp.  So, when his new characters don the accroutrements needed to change their appearance, we know we are in for a book full of surprise.

Pretending is easier if Hog is wearing a facsimile of Piggie's nose and Harold dons the same style of glasses worn by Gerald. Harold takes on Piggie's energetic and cheerful demeanor, hoping to help Hog get into the pretense. Then, he will become as careful as Gerald is about life. Turns out it is just not in either of them to be someone they are not. What will they do now?

Engaging dialogue, hilarity, clever touches and ingenious artwork ensure that fans of Mo Willems will be pleased to see their beloved characters honored in such a way. Even the Pigeon gets a cameo role which will simply add to the appeal.

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