THIS LITTLE PIGGY'S BOOK OF MANNERS
Kathryn Madeline Allen, Author, Wong Herbert Yee, Author, Nancy Wolff, I
First-time author Allen transforms the classic toe-wiggling rhyme into a pig-centric do's-and-don'ts etiquette lesson, covering such subjects as table manners, waiting one's turn and cleaning up after oneself. "This little piggy... closed his mouth while he ate," she writes, as debut illustrator Wolff (who also provides the distinctive hand-lettered texts) portrays the pig's tablemates as awed by his finesse. "I could watch that pig chew all day," reads the thought balloon of an adjacent rabbit, while a zebra dreams, "I'd love to see him tackle a corn on the cob." But on the page that follows, "this little piggy forgot"—and not only are the contents of his mouth clearly visible, but the wall and table are splattered with food, grossing out his dining companions. "I've lost my appetite," thinks a fox. Allen also makes the point that good manners are a matter not just of consideration for others but of self-interest as well—when a piggy politely admires a wolf's teeth, the predator is so pleased that he decides not to eat him after all. However, the perky tone cannot completely disguise the pedantry. Wolff's ink-and-gouache pictures, on the other hand, can be too much of good thing. Overflowing with colors, characters, textures (including painted newsprint) and textual asides, they seem to lack a focal point and thus keep readers at a distance. Ages 2-6.
Reviewed on: 11/03/2003