cover image Parents in the Pigpen, Pigs in the Tub

Parents in the Pigpen, Pigs in the Tub

Amy Ehrlich. Dial Books, $15.99 (400pp) ISBN 978-0-8037-0933-1

It's a barnyard switcharoo when the animals get a glimpse of life on the other side of the pasture gate. Laments like ``That sure looks better than the stuff they feed us'' and ``They got no flies in there neither'' prompt a bevy of beasts to move into the house and demand cornflakes and snug beds. Ehrlich and Kellogg (who previously teamed up for the Leo, Zack and Emmie beginning readers series) invest the naively accommodating family with a goofy cheerfulness that provides much of the book's humor. Pa, Ma, Willy, Billy, Millie and the girl who narrates are blithely oblivious to the household havoc being wreaked by the animals (rendered in Kellogg's characteristically cluttered watercolors). Things finally get out of hand (Ma starts snoring during the Sunday sermon, the pigs flood the house) and the humans flee to the now-vacant barn, completing the swap. Eventually, of course, all creatures yearn for the comforts of home and the groups agree to trade back. A Thanksgiving dinner, filled with extra helpings of silliness, concludes the tale with a celebration of newfound mutual respect. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)