FIONA THE PIG

Leigh Hobbs, Author . Running Press $15.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-7624-2092-6

Fiona the pig is neat and dainty, a devotee of bubble baths, proper afternoon tea and the performing arts. But while she is a contented, loving daughter, she is not at all what her conventionally porcine parents think she should be. "We brought her up so carefully," bemoans her father as he alternately eats junk food and burps. "Why can't she be more like…us ?" complains her disheveled mother, gorging on cakes. But with a little nudging from a child psychiatrist (a Freud-like pig named Dr. Pinkysnout), Mr. and Mrs. Pig realize that a truly happy family really does take all kinds. "Their daughter would never be like them, that's for sure," writes Hobbs (Horrible Harriet ). "But Mr. and Mrs. Pig adored Fiona, no matter what." Although the text feels overly literal, the wry ink-and-watercolor full-bleed and panel cartoons will likely provoke snorts of laughter. Fiona may be a vision of frills and curls, but Hobbs endows her with an abundance of joie de vivre. Beneath all that girlishness lies an unflappable sense of self that could impress even hardcore tomboys. And by having all the doubts and concerns rest with the unkempt Mr. and Mrs. Pig (in one witty scene, they lie awake worrying about Fiona in a bed covered with dishes and food), this tale assures young readers that parents will do their best to make sure no child is ever the odd one out. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)