cover image Zeke Pippin

Zeke Pippin

William Steig. Di Capua, $15 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-06-205076-2

This deeply funny picture book immediately joins the ranks of Steig classics. When a harmonica falls from a garbage truck onto Zeke Pippin's trotters, the young pig's life changes completely. At every opportunity he practices his scales (``even out in the rain'') until he is ready to serenade his family. But he has scarcely begun his premiere performance (``regaling them with the prelude to La Traviata'') before his audience is snoozing and snoring. Outraged, Zeke leaves home. On a precarious journey downstream he soon discovers that the mouth organ puts absolutely everyone to sleep. As he hastens home he is beset by bands of baddies with only his trusty harmonica to help him out. Sensitive Zeke with his musical hopes and wounded pride is a pig with plenty of child appeal-especially amusing are illustrations of him stalking archly away from his sleeping family (``How can I go on living under the same roof with such nincompoops?''). Steig adds some nifty wordplay to his already exuberant language (e.g., ``with the half-moon half helping, Zeke threaded his way through a confusion of trees and tangled vines''). The gleeful narrative simply sparkles. Ages 3-up. (Nov.)