Captain Small Pig

Overview

This is a quietly charming story with evocative illustrations.

“I’m Captain Commander!” Small Pig said.

“Aye-Aye, Captain Small Pig!” yawned Old Goat. “You are in charge of this boat!”

But Small Pig soon tires of rowing and falls asleep, and before they know it, the boat is drifting across the lake, and grumpy Turkey is in for a soaking!

Martin Waddell, award-winning author of Can’t You Sleep, Little Bear? ...

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Overview

This is a quietly charming story with evocative illustrations.

“I’m Captain Commander!” Small Pig said.

“Aye-Aye, Captain Small Pig!” yawned Old Goat. “You are in charge of this boat!”

But Small Pig soon tires of rowing and falls asleep, and before they know it, the boat is drifting across the lake, and grumpy Turkey is in for a soaking!

Martin Waddell, award-winning author of Can’t You Sleep, Little Bear? perfectly captures the magic of a day out.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
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.)
Kirkus Reviews
Old Goat (comfortably amiable), Turkey (a bit of a gloomy Gus) and Small Pig (enthusiasm incarnate) find a red boat and go rowing on Blue Lake. Small Pig wants to fish for whales, so Old Goat ties a string to an oar for him-but Small Pig only catches a boot. Next he wants to row by himself: "I'm Captain Commander!" Before long Small Pig announces he's too tired to row any more, and Old Goat tells him to keep his hand on the tiller and let the boat drift. As the moon rises, all three are asleep until Old Goat wakes, rows back to the dock and upsets the boat, but Small Pig continues to dream of being Captain. Varley's skillfully composed pen-and-ink illustrations lend an old-fashioned feeling to this gentle story, enlivening it with details like blue ticking on pillows and endpapers. Turkey wears a hat and vest, and Old Goat wears a white shirt and striped knickers, while Small Pig sports rolled-up pants and a polo shirt. This is an affectionate nod to friendship between ages (and types). (Picture book. 4-7)
Children's Literature - Kathie M. Josephs
Old Goat and Turkey take Small Pig to a lake for a picnic where they see a red boat. Small Pig begs to go for a ride in it. They go but then Small Pig keeps making outrageous requests, including fishing for a whale, and Turkey constantly tells him that he cannot, Old Goat placates him and tells him to try. Each time Small Pig wants to do something, Old Goat gives in. Naturally Turkey, who did not want to go in the first place, falls out of the boat into the water while Small Pig is in charge. Of course, Small Pig was tired and he fell asleep. They finally arrive home safely, and Old Goat and Turkey carry Small Pig to bed. This delightful story is one that boys and girls will love to read or have read to them repeatedly. The great illustrations add joy to the story. This book has a thoughtful ending that zeros in on the importance of times shared together. Growing up happens all too quickly, and this book is a reminder to take advantage of every moment one can share with a child. Reviewer: Kathie M. Josephs
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1—Waddell and Varley take readers on an enjoyable excursion. Old Goat and Turkey—acting like a snappish uncle and a patient grandfather—take Small Pig to the lake, where the youngster expresses an ardent desire that they go rowing. "'Turkeys don't go in boats,' Turkey said. 'Neither do goats,' said Old Goat, but he climbed into the boat, and they rowed off onto Blue Lake." This pattern repeats: Small Pig makes a wish, Turkey responds negatively, and Old Goat patiently indulges him. The sun sets, the moon rises, and Little Pig falls asleep—and oh yes—Turkey falls into the water as Old Goat is mooring the rowboat. While the linear narrative may, for some, raise expectations of a more substantial story, this title succeeds simply as a glimpse into a child's world. Varley's gently colored pen and ink drawings have a touch of Beatrix Potter-style magic, though the use of white background in some of the night scenes is confusing. Despite minor imperfections, Captain Small Pig will entice readers with its droll characterizations and splendid pictures.—Susan Weitz, formerly at Spencer-Van Etten School District, Spencer, NY
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781842707043
  • Publisher: Random House UK
  • Publication date: 6/16/2009
  • Pages: 32

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