Lady Muck

William Mayne, Author, Jonathan Heale, Illustrator, Johnathan Heale, Illustrator Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) $15.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-395-75281-4
This British import about two piggies going to market develops into a grand tug-of-war between greed and gluttony. At first Spowk and Boark, the old married porks, with their awkward airs of gentility, seem devoted to each other. However, when Boarky digs ""fat sweet rooties"" for his lady love and discovers a cache of truffles, his own appetite cries ""all mine, all miney."" So begins a comedy of mutual deception behind the curtain of marital courtesies. The upended language of Mayne's sophisticated text will either thrill or baffle youngsters (""What did you find... with your scrapy and snuffly and your dig, tusk, dig?""). Fittingly pig-like, its invented vocabulary rings with a strange authenticity. Although eating truffles pleases Sowky ""from silk ear to scratch back,"" she convinces her hubby to deny the palate and sell them for ""goldy round money."" But, among the ""family"" of truffles in Sowky's basket, the ""babby"" rolls around, is ""frighted,"" and ""jumps"" into Sowky's mouth, ""running down the red lane to tummy, and happy there."" This marks the beginning of a slow feast, each consumed truffle being met by Sowky's hilarious rationalizations. Heale's bold woodcuts and pale-washed watercolors join the antiquated charms of Mayne's narrative to create an original and rich read-aloud experience. Ages 5-9. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 03/03/1997
Release date: 03/01/1997
Genre: Children's
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