cover image I Love You Like a Pig

I Love You Like a Pig

Mac Barnett, illus. by Greg Pizzoli. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-06-235483-9

For kids, similes are a gateway to the world of figurative language, but they’re also ripe for absurdist comedy, as Barnett (Triangle) and Pizzoli (Good Night Owl) prove. “I’m happy like a monster./ I’m lucky like a window./ I’m smiling like a tuna./ Because I love you like a pig,” writes Barnett, adopting the cadence of an affectionate, improvised ditty. The silly sincerity of the text goes together with the goofy innocence of Pizzoli’s minimalist cartooning like, well, peas in a pod. Choruses of “oinks” appear between stanzas, adding irresistible invitations to make noise. Some lines are head-scratchers by design (“You’re sweet like a banker”), but all encourage big, imaginative thinking: what does it mean to love someone like a pig? (Parties and good times, based on the evidence Pizzoli presents on each passing page.) There’s a nifty poetic inventiveness throughout that families and language arts teachers can build on—because, come to think of it, a window is pretty lucky when a pie is placed on its sill to cool. Ages 4–8. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Sept.)