cover image The Great Pig Escape

The Great Pig Escape

Eileen Christelow. Clarion Books, $15 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-395-66973-0

In this strategic endorsement of vegetarianism, six pigs foil the folks who would turn them into bacon. Farmers Bert and Ethel, who usually cultivate their gardens, raise half a dozen piglets to sell at auction. But the pigs overhear Bert and Ethel's grim plan, and plot an escape from the pickup truck that's taking them on their final ride. After they chew through a rope that ties the tailgates, the anthropomorphized pork-chops-to-be steal some clothes, disguise themselves and hop a bus to Florida. (Accompanied by a postcard signed, simply, ``Oink!'' the clothes are returned parcel post.) Christelow ( The Five-Dog Night ) contours her characters in ink and adds brightly hued, fluid watercolors. She derives humor from various pigs vs. people scenarios--Bert and Ethel don't realize that their livestock knows what's up, and the escapees, attired in dresses and hats, cross paths with the befuddled farmers many times. The high jinks are like a harmless game of hide-and-seek--just as long as readers forget that the pigs are running for their very lives. Ages 5-8. (Aug.)