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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A starred review for PIGGY BUNNY!

I just got this by email -- a starred review for PIGGY BUNNY!:

 This review will appear in the February 2012 issue of BCCB. 


Vail, Rachel Piggy Bunny; illus. by Jeremy Tankard. Feiwel, 2012 [32p] ISBN 978-0-312-64988-3 $14.99
Reviewed from galleys     R* 5-7 yrs
“All the other piglets wanted to be pigs when they grew up. Liam wanted to be the Easter Bunny.” That’s a peculiar and lofty ambition for anybody, let alone a young pig, and Liam’s perplexed immediate family tries to point him toward pragmatism (“‘You are a piglet,’ said Liam’s big sister. ‘Deal with it’”). It’s Liam’s grandparents who heroically defend his dream (“They just have the imagination of a kumquat, the lot of them,” sniffs his grandmother), rustle him up a bunny suit (“We will order one on the Internet”), and see him through to the fulfillment of his fantasy. Vail’s high-spirited and highly comedic text just begs for a whole-souled readaloud with rich vocal characterization that’ll make the most of both the humor and the touches of poignancy (“This is the kind of problem,” sighs Liam, “that is called heartbreaking”). It’s a hilariously absurd story about a pig, but it’s also a cheerful championing of the kind of role play for which “pretend” seems a dismissive term and which sees little kids wearing their superhero capes to the supermarket; even beyond that, it’s a subtle reassurance about finding workable ways to explore a dream or an identity that may seem initially impossible. Tankard, author-illustrator of Grumpy Bird (BCCB 3/07), employs thickly solid yet fluid brushstrokes in figures that have a touch of Japanese graphic flavor in their streamlined cuteness; digital color makes the piglets a luscious pink that stands out against gently patterned tone-on-tone backgrounds in stripes and spots. This will be an enjoyably loopy and stealthily reassuring readaloud any time of the year, and it would make a terrifically offbeat Easter entry. Oink.  DS

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