cover image A Piggybook

A Piggybook

Anthony Browne. Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, $14.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-394-88416-5

Mr. Piggott and his sons, Simon and Patrick, keep Mrs. Piggott in a state of perpetual domesticity: fixing breakfast, washing dishes, making the beds and vacuuming the carpets. That's before she goes to her own job. After work, she continues this drudgery while Mr. Piggott and the boys lounge around, periodically demanding things of her. One day, though, she's gone. A note, saying simply, ""You are pigs,'' is all she leaves behind. The three males, quite literally, have become pigs, and the house turns into a pigpen without Mrs. Piggott there to take care of things. When she returns, they beg her to stay, and it's their turn to be domestic. Liberated from chores, she fixes the car. The message here is a little too clear; this book may in fact be a decade too late. Still, it's a sassy story, a little like Aesop, where everyone gets his just deserts. And readers will have a fine time rooting out all the piggy touches Browne has littered throughout the illustrations. (4-8)