cover image This Little Piggy

This Little Piggy

Morse Hamilton, Nicholas Heller. Greenwillow Books, $16 (10pp) ISBN 978-0-688-14049-6

After being asked to tell one more story, Donald's grandmother reaches for his big toe and offers up the inside scoop on the classic ""This Little Piggy"" rhyme. Among other things, readers learn that the piggy who stayed home was actually a slug-a-bed who preferred soaking in a bubble bath to helping his brother go to market, and that the piggy who went ""Whee, whee, whee"" all the way home did so because he had enjoyed visiting his grandparents for the weekend. Heller (Woody) does a serviceable job with the text: it's crisp and straightforward. He keeps the grandmother's interpretation comfortable and cozy, rather than pushing his premise to its limits. Lamut's (Too Noisy) tempera and oil paintings exhibit a pleasingly rough canvas texture, while her standard-issue characterizations of round-faced people and rosy-cheeked, bipedal pigs stay well within the limits of the tried-and-true. She adds a certain amount of energy through skillful visual pacing, alternating full-page illustrations with insets, panel art and the occasional double spread. Young children may be tickled by the sight of pigs in polka-dot pajamas (their curly tails peek out the back flap) and parents--wiggling their children's toes as they read--may enjoy the text's interactive potential. Ages 4-up. (Apr.)