cover image PIGS ROCK!


Melanie Davis Jones, , illus. by Bob Staake. . Viking, $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-670-03581-6

Raise your hands up high and give it up for the Pig Rock Band, a group of swinging swines making its first appearance in eye-popping print. Staake's (My Little Color Book) illustrations, a stylistic collision of Russian constructivism and pop art, explode with energy, playing off basic geometric shapes and angles and swimming in saturated colors. The pictures get up and groove, as they depict Freddy, Eddie, Clem and Ray—a quirky quartet with bodies made up of circles—performing in concert and signing autographs for star-struck fans. Staake gives each his own personality: country-western Clem, a "pig in jeans with leather boots," sports spurs and a curlicue hairdo, while Ray, a cool cat in tux and shades, tickles the ivories. The gig's almost up when the band's tour bus drives off the road and they must race to arrive before the curtain goes up ("Pigs run. Pigs climb. Pigs arrive just in time"). Jones's text has enough rhythm and repetition ("Fans clap. Fans cheer. It's the pig rock band they love to hear") to attract children with an ear for music, but the images' joyous intensity really makes the volume sing. Clever typography woven into the illustrations (the bus, operated by the Porkopolis Bus Tour Line, posts its destination, Oinkville) adds a jolt of humor. A rockin' feast for young eyes, this book hits a high note. Ages 3-8. (Mar.)