Suzanne Bloom, Author, Suzanne Bloom, Illustrator . Boyds Mills $15.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-59078-047-3

Although this urban tale stars an increasingly hefty porker, Bloom (We Keep a Pig in the Parlor ) spins out her story with a light touch. A pig named Serena is awarded as a contest prize to Ms. Taffy. Thrown for a loop at first (she thought she was winning a pig figurine to add to her collection), Ms. Taffy exhibits cosmopolitan pluck, takes Serena home (on the subway, no less) to her third-floor walk-up, and introduces her to the neighbors—who promptly take the pig under their collective wing. Matriarchal Grandma Winona fusses over her ("She looks a bit puny," she pronounces and invites her for a home-cooked lunch); young Marcus designs an impressive cart for hauling her food. When Serena grows so big that Ms. Taffy must contemplate a move to the country, the neighbors join forces and turn a vacant lot into a garden-cum-residence for the unusual pet. Bloom's buoyant ink-and-watercolor illustrations revel in the realities of city life—the cramped apartments, the bountiful greengrocer's shops, the neighborhood greasy spoon. No one ever utters the title words—this community simply expands its already big heart to embrace Serena in all her magnificent porcine girth. Ages 5-up. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 11/10/2003
Release date: 10/01/2003
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