From the Publisher
"Delightful. . .With their old-fashioned charm, timeless storytelling, and irresistible humor, the books are destined to win over new generation of readers." - School Library Journal"
If you look at the work of Tomi Ungerer, it's passionate, it's personal, it's marvellous and it's cuckoo, and it's that kind of variety that's always made for good children's literature." - Maurice Sendak, in The New York Times"
The kind of inventive story that will have kids asking for repeated readings." - Karen MacPherson, Scripps Howard News Service
The Mellops family of pigs prepares for Christmas in this delightfully droll fable about the importance of giving to others at Christmastime. On Christmas Eve, the four Mellops brothers, Casimir, Isidor, Felix and Ferdinand, each try to surprise their father with a small, decorated Christmas tree. Their wise parent sends them out into the snowy night to give the trees away to those less fortunate. After trying several places that already have perfectly fine trees, the porcine brothers discover a houseful of lonely, needy pigs who happily accept the trees and other gifts of food and clothing provided by the kind Mellops brothers. The piglets return home to celebrate Christmas Eve with their parents, enjoying their own presents, tree and dinner, but the satisfaction of their genuine charity sets the tone for their happy holiday. The understated story, first published in England 50 years ago, has a French flavor in the quietly humorous text and minimalist illustrations in a sophisticated palette of peach and spring green. Ungerer, winner of the Hans Christian Andersen Prize, exhibits a masterful sense of pacing in his work, with plentiful space surrounding his witty piglets and a spare text conveying a complete, satisfying plot. The subtle theme of the transformative power hidden within heartfelt gifts is elegantly conveyed in this amusing holiday offering. (Picture book. 3-7)
Children's Literature - Melissa A. Caudill
The Moellops, a warm-spirited family of pigs, are faced with a Christmas dilemma. Father Moellop unknowingly sets off the same idea in all four of his sons' heads. After showing them pictures of beautifully decorated Christmas trees, the boys go out alone and each return with a tree for the family. What to do with all these trees? They attempt to deliver cheer to the less fortunate, but find everyone already celebrating around a tree. Alas, on their way to discard the trees, they discover a young, weeping piglet. The girl lives with her poor, sick grandmother and near three other lonely pigs. The Moellop boys deliver their extra trees and bring gifts to share with these pigs. The book's simple illustrations and warm-hearted story again remind us of the true spirit of the holidays. 1998 (orig.