cover image The Book Hog

The Book Hog

Greg Pizzoli. Disney-Hyperion, $16.99 (48p) ISBN 978-136803689-4

The Japanese word tsundoku describes books that have piled up in a home without being read. Pizzoli’s porcine protagonist certainly accumulates books—he’s a relentless buyer and forager—and he adores each volume (“He loved the way they smelled, and the way the pages felt in his hooves. He especially liked the ones with pictures”). But reading procrastination is not his problem. Book Hog has a big secret: “He didn’t know how to read. He had never learned.” Then Book Hog discovers the library (“he smelled some books inside”) and a whole community of book lovers, including a kind librarian whose attentiveness and story times inspire him—“over time, and with practice”—to become a reader. Pizzoli once again employs a candy-colored palette and an ebullient cast—the pink-and-green look, and even some of the characters, are reminiscent of his The Watermelon Seed. And, as always in a Pizzoli book, there are wonderful details: readers will note that the markings on spines of the books go from fuzzy lines to actual titles when the Book Hog learns to read, and that in one spread, he raptly stands right by the librarian’s chair, clutching its arm as she reads aloud to the group. Who hasn’t seen—or been—that kid? Ages 3–5. [em]Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Mar.) [/em]