cover image The True Adventures of Esther the Wonder Pig

The True Adventures of Esther the Wonder Pig

Steve Jenkins, Derek Walter, and Caprice Crane, illus. by Cori Doerrfeld. Little, Brown, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-316-55476-3

Many animal lovers have already heard of Esther: she’s the 650 lb. rescue pig with 1.5 million followers on Facebook and Instagram. She also made her “dads,” Jenkins and Walter, animal activist celebrities: they opened an animal rescue farm after adopting her and, along with Crane, wrote an adult memoir about Esther. With the help of Doerrfeld’s cheery, straightforward cartooning, Esther’s story becomes a sweet domestic comedy, as much about besotted parental love as it is about life with a behemoth pig. Esther can’t help that she needs increasingly bigger beds (“We thought she was supposed to be a mini pig,” say her fathers, who do and say everything together). But Esther can do no wrong, even when she does: each transgressive episode ends with the hearts-embellished refrain, “She looked up at her dads with those eyes and that smile... it was love.” An Esther-goes-missing subplot in the final pages feels unnecessary—there’s plenty of narrative fodder in a pig who takes over a family. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Erica Spellman Silverman, Trident Media Group. Illustrator’s agent: Rachel Orr, Prospect Agency. (Mar.)