cover image The Spotty Pig

The Spotty Pig

Dick King-Smith. Farrar Straus Giroux, $14 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-374-37154-8

King-Smith (Babe: The Gallant Pig) is in fine fettle in this jaunty tale of a piglet chagrined by his spots. Peter plots constantly to be rid of his pesky markings--trying to fade them in the summer sun, camouflage them with dirt and leaves in autumn, freeze them white in winter and wash them off in the spring rain--but to no avail. Finally, the frustrated porker shouts, ""Snuffle my snout and tweak my trotters! I SHALL NEVER GET RID OF MY SPOTS!"" Good thing, too--for soon pretty Penny, a sow with similar markings, comes along, recognizes a soul mate when she sees one and speedily presents the proud papa with a baker's dozen of spotted offspring. Wormell's (Hilda Hen's Birthday) chunky linocuts are as cheerful as a box of new crayons, and just the thing to pair with King-Smith's droll text. The bold black outlines lend a crispness to the farmyard setting, which the artist softens with sunny colors and an abundance of amiable touches--a roly-poly hedgehog, a friendly tabby cat, a scattering of plump chickens. This effervescent book's light serving of an agreeable message about self-acceptance is simply icing on the cake. Ages 3-6. (Apr.)