The Tale of Gilbert Alexander Pig

Gael Cresp, Author, David Cox, Illustrator Barefoot Books $15.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-84148-215-6
An Australian team introduces a trumpet-playing oinker and a wolf that not only wants a pork dinner but a chance to blow his horn. Gilbert takes off to see the wide world, progressing from a tent made out of calico to a twig hut. He fishes by day and plays his trumpet ""to the stars."" But the Wolf dogs his footsteps, threatening to eat him up and take his trumpet (""There was no way that Gilbert Alexander Pig was going to let the Wolf get his paws or his lips on that trumpet!""). Thus Gilbert ends up in the city, in a brick house he builds thanks to the proceeds from gigs at cafes and nightclubs. Readers may be mystified by the fellow's change of heart: when the Wolf shows up at his urban dwelling, Gilbert tells him, ""We need to talk about this."" They draw up an agreement, and soon the two are camping and fishing together while Gilbert plays a nightly serenade. The story's subtext (Gilbert is black and the Wolf is white) will likely be lost on young readers, and the meandering narrative and sudden change in the characters' behavior may also leave youngsters behind. Cox's (Tin Lizzy and Little Nell) pen-and-wash illustrations, however, sketched in a flurry of lines and featuring sprightly characterizations, maintain a light touch. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/03/2000
Release date: 04/01/2000
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