Dream Big, Little Pig!
Kristi Yamaguchi, illus. by Tim Bowers, Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-4022-5275-4
Olympic champion figure skater Yamaguchi centers her chipper debut children's book on a "pot-bellied, waddling, toddling pig" who aspires to be a star. Repeatedly encouraged by her mother, grandparents, and best friend, Poppy follows one outsize dream after another, unsuccessfully trying out for roles as a ballerina, singer, and supermodel. " ‘Follow your dreams!' said Poppy's mother, who loved her no matter what. ‘You go, girl!' said Poppy's grandparents, who were her biggest fans.... ‘Dancing is just not for you,' said the people in charge of the ballet." Bowers's (First Dog) pastel-hued cartoons spotlight the piglet's vivid imagination: before each audition, Poppy's glammed-up visions appear in thought balloons over her head. Though her spirits sag after her third failure, her loved ones' support keeps her inspired. Yamaguchi's message is more about determination than preternatural talent; when Poppy turns to ice skating, her persistence pays off—and a twirling, glowing Poppy draws admiring crowds—but even then she's not "perfect." Comedic flourishes, both in the artwork and in the repetition of the praise/criticism Poppy receives, keep the story from feeling overly inspirational. Ages 4–8. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/31/2011