cover image "EAT!" CRIED LITTLE PIG


Jonathan London, , illus. by Delphine Durand. . Dutton, $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-525-46906-3

In this wry account of an infant's table manners, Little Pig happily practices his first word and his favorite pastime: "Eat!" At breakfast, lunch and dinner, he ends up with "Food in his hair./ Food on his chair./ Food on his clothes/ and food everywhere !" When his sister says, "Be sweet!" and his father scolds, "Be neat!," Little Pig only repeats his statement with a wide smile. At bedtime, his patient mother bathes him and tucks him in. "But when she tiptoed out.../ she heard a shout:/ 'Eat!' cried Little Pig." Fortunately, Little Pig wants to try another word, too: "Neat!" He finishes his dessert without spilling a drop, although the conclusion finds him cheerfully tossing toys out of his crib and making a new kind of mess. London (the Froggy series) lingers on the "squish," "squash" and "slurp" sounds of Little Pig's delectation, and he reiterates the cry of "Eat!" for readers' amusement. Durand's (Scritch Scratch ) amiable gouache and collage illustrations also imply how much Little Pig enjoys himself, and suggest that his family's frustrations are short-lived. The porcine protagonist's long-suffering teddy bear gives him a nervous glance, and his parents look slightly haggard, but a stripe-tailed cat and squat dog signal the overall upbeat mood as they keep a sharp eye for errant food. Durand's puckish images make a lively match with London's mischievous rhymes. Ages 2-6. (Oct.)