cover image Old Pig

Old Pig

Margaret Wild. Dial Books, $14.99 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-8037-1917-0

Wild's poignant story about the death of Old Pig is as full of warmth and, yes, joy as her The Very Best of Friends and Our Granny. Granddaughter and Old Pig have lived together ""for a long, long time,"" sharing their chores and eating corn and oats, until one day Old Pig knows she must settle her affairs. She returns her books to the library without borrowing any more, pays all of her bills, and takes her granddaughter on a walk so that the two of them can ""feast"" on a meal that has nothing to do with food. Together Old Pig and Granddaughter notice the light on the trees, taste the rain, watch the clouds. That night--the last they will spend together--they ""held each other tight until morning."" Both text and Brooks's gentle, flowing watercolors are particularly adept at capturing Granddaughter's emotions without lapsing into sentimentality. When Old Pig says she must be prepared, Granddaughter asks, "" `Prepared for what?' Old Pig didn't reply. She didn't have to. Granddaughter already knew the answer."" This sensitive and heartfelt Australian import is a winning addition to the many books that help children cope with the loss of a loved one. Ages 3-7. (May)