cover image Captain Small Pig

Captain Small Pig

Martin Waddell, , illus. by Susan Varley. . Peachtree, $15.95 (24pp) ISBN 978-1-56145-519-5

Three distinct personalities emerge in Waddell's (The Super Hungry Dinosaur ) story of a day spent on the lake. Small Pig is thrilled about going for a row in a boat. Turkey is less enthusiastic (“Turkeys don't go in boats”), but he acquiesces, following the lead of Old Goat, who says, “Neither do goats,” as he climbs aboard. Throughout the day, this pattern repeats, with Old Goat's patience balancing Turkey's grouchiness. When Small Pig wants to fish for whales, Turkey snaps that there are no whales in the lake, while Old Goat concedes, “There might be a very small whale.” Though the relationship between the characters is left open-ended, Turkey and Old Goat play parental roles, and readers may recognize their own guardians' temperaments in the older characters. Though Turkey tumbles into the water as they dock the boat, Small Pig has a perfect day. Despite the gentle domestic squabbling, the animals' love for Small Pig is abundantly evident in Varley's (The Monster Bed ) light-infused pen-and-ink art, which emphasizes the tenderness of their interactions and the tranquility of the setting. Ages 4–8. (Mar.)