cover image Annabel


Janice Boland. Dial Books, $12.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8037-1254-6

No longer content to be a pig, Annabel announces loftier ambitions: ``I want to be big. I want to be important. I want to do something wonderful.'' Her mud-covered mother responds: ``Of course you do, dear. . . Just be yourself.'' Encountering a horse, dog and hen, Annabel enthusiastically assists them with their appointed tasks. The animals remark that they could not have done these jobs without her, and that she, too, is very important. Though Annabel's new self-image is suddenly deflated when her reflection in a pond lets her know that she still looks the same, her mother reassures her that being a little pig is ``absolutely wonderful.'' Boland's crisp, peppy narrative contains just the right amount of repetition to help youngest readers grasp Annabel's wise mother's message. Halsey's bold, large-scale illustrations humorously convey Annabel's spunk--this prepossessing porker has personality to spare. Particularly endearing are the pictures of the diminutive piglet hitched to a plow alongside a much larger horse, and of the delighted Annabel snuggling with the chicks she helped hatch. Ages 3-7. (Mar.)