cover image Under a Pig Tree: A History of the Noble Fruit

Under a Pig Tree: A History of the Noble Fruit

Margie Palatini, illus. by Chuck Groenink. Abrams, $16.95 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4197-1488-7

The conceit of this comic pearl is that the author’s paean to figs has been ruined by a single pervasive typo. Palatini (No Nap! Yes Nap!) pours it on, scrawling blistering notes to her publisher, the hammily named Hamilton A. Cochon, throughout. “Look, mistakes happen,” Cochon explains. “The ‘F’ looked like a ‘P,’ okay?” Many of the “mistakes” deliver big laughs: “Nothing is better than a pig right off a tree. Look for the ones on low branches.” Others may be tougher for readers to understand on first read, especially for kids unfamiliar with figs to begin with: “Some pigs are very popular and quite famous, such as Blanche, Celeste, Len, and Tena.” Even so, Groenink’s (Santa Clauses) witty, accomplished artwork vaults the book into the memorable category. With easy grace, he parodies Greek vases, Chinese porcelain, and medieval Books of Hours, while adding plenty of pig sass of his own. It’s a prime choice for foodie families, who will especially appreciate recipes for “Pigs Stuffed with Blue Cheese” and the like. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Linda Pratt, Wernick & Pratt. Illustrator’s agent: Stephen Barr, Writers House. (Apr.)