The True Adventures of Esther the Wonder Pig

Steve Jenkins, Derek Walter, and Caprice Crane, illus. by Cori Doerrfeld. Little, Brown, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-316-55476-3

Many animal lovers have already heard of Esther: she’s the 650 lb. rescue pig with 1.5 million followers on Facebook and Instagram. She also made her “dads,” Jenkins and Walter, animal activist celebrities: they opened an animal rescue farm after adopting her and, along with Crane, wrote an adult memoir about Esther. With the help of Doerrfeld’s cheery, straightforward cartooning, Esther’s story becomes a sweet domestic comedy, as much about besotted parental love as it is about life with a behemoth pig. Esther can’t help that she needs increasingly bigger beds (“We thought she was supposed to be a mini pig,” say her fathers, who do and say everything together). But Esther can do no wrong, even when she does: each transgressive episode ends with the hearts-embellished refrain, “She looked up at her dads with those eyes and that smile... it was love.” An Esther-goes-missing subplot in the final pages feels unnecessary—there’s plenty of narrative fodder in a pig who takes over a family. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Erica Spellman Silverman, Trident Media Group. Illustrator’s agent: Rachel Orr, Prospect Agency. (Mar.)