Hog Music

Hog Music

by M. C. Helldorfer, S. D. Schindler

Great Aunt Liza is sending Lucy a birthday gift. She puts it in a wooden box with a latch and gives it to her friend to take west to Lucy by mail coach. And that's where the adventure begins. As the box makes its way across the country by the kindness of strangers, each one adds a token of his or her own to Lucy's present. Over rutted roads, past thousands of hogs…  See more details below


Great Aunt Liza is sending Lucy a birthday gift. She puts it in a wooden box with a latch and gives it to her friend to take west to Lucy by mail coach. And that's where the adventure begins. As the box makes its way across the country by the kindness of strangers, each one adds a token of his or her own to Lucy's present. Over rutted roads, past thousands of hogs and some hungry goats, the box finds its way to Lucy. In M.C. Helldorfer's energetic words and S.D. Schindler's exuberant art, a touching and very funny picture of nineteenth-century life emerges.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Jaunty watercolor and gouache illustrations on parchment paper set the tone for this rollicking 1840s adventure tale of a birthday present gone astray. As young Lucy's family prepares to head West to Illinois, Aunt Liza refuses to go with them. "Nothing but hog music out there," she grumbles. Some months later, the woman packs "a plain straw hat in a plain wooden box" for Lucy's birthday, and sends it on its way with a traveling friend. When the hatbox bounces off the stagecoach, the gift falls into the hands of various characters, each of whom contributes something to the box and simultaneously fills in details of daily life (a portrait artist adds a miniature painting of his grandmother's pet hog, a farm boy pops in a clay marble, etc.). Eventually, the hatbox reaches a puzzled Lucy and her family. When Lucy writes a thank-you note back, Aunt Liza, beguiled by Lucy's talk not of hogs, but of prairie grass and "wind music," heads West for a happy reunion. Helldorfer (Phoebe and the River Flute) adopts a folksy tone for her spry story ("Whooeeee! That stagecoach headed west--and up and down and left and right") and serves up artful images ("the moon rising like a shiny supper plate over the mountains"). Schindler's (A Big Cheese for the White House) artwork wrings the most out of the tale's humorous elements (such as vignettes of seven men toe-tapping at dance lessons, then sleeping side by side in front of a roaring fire), while maintaining the precision of miniatures, and he fleshes out the scenes with an abundance of period particulars. Readers will be shouting "Westward Ho!" right along with Aunt Liza. Ages 3-8. (May) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Children's Literature - Children's Literature
When Lucy and her family set off for Illinois in their Conestoga wagon, Aunt Liza refuses to join them. "Nothing but hog music out there," she says. But the wild misadventures of a birthday present she sends to Lucy give us a wide-ranging picture of the people and the places along the old National Road. By the time the gift reaches Lucy, many items have been added to the box, enough to entice Aunt Liza to come and see for herself. The cast of characters and their cumulative interaction with the box provide opportunities galore for Schindler's talent in his watercolor and gouache on parchment paintings. Double-page scenes present bucolic farm settings as well as snapshots of a wild carriage ride, a fully-stocked country store, a disastrous bridge collapse, etc. along with lively characters full of spunk, including the fat porkers parading along the road on the jacket/cover. His visualization adds comic structure to the lively text. A note from the author fills in historic background information. 2000, Viking/Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers, Ages 4 to 8, $15.99. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz—Children's Literature
Children's Literature
When Lucy and her family were heading west in a Conestoga wagon, Great Aunt Liza refused to join them, saying, "Nothing but hog music out there." Then Great Aunt Liza bought Lucy a plain straw hat for her birthday, she put it in a plain box and asked Dr. Edwards to take it west with him on the mail coach. Travel was difficult and muddy in the 1840s and as the box was passed from one person to the next, it gathered little mementos of the trip. The box tumbled into the mud, splashed into the creek and fell into the paws of a monkey from the circus. Nonetheless, it finally arrived at the general store and post office in Illinois where Lucy and her family picked up news from home. In her thank you note, Lucy mentioned that they had just one hog and she added, "We have only wind music." This convinced Great Aunt Liza to make the trip and join the family in their new home. Youngsters will enjoy the humor while gaining knowledge about a fascinating time in the country's history from the excellent illustrations as well as the text. 2000, Viking/Penguin Putnam, Ages 3 to 8, $15.99. Reviewer: Carolyn Mott Ford
School Library Journal
K-Gr 4-A whimsical, well-researched story. During the first half of the 19th century, Lucy's family heads west for a better life. They leave behind cranky Aunt Liza, who believes that there is "Nothing but hog music out there," and journey to Illinois. When Aunt Liza buys Lucy a new straw hat for her birthday and mails it off to her in a wooden box with a latch, the adventure begins. The route it must travel is via the National Public Road, the major travel route from Maryland to the Mississippi. After a mishap on the mail coach, it travels by handcart, then by Conestoga wagon, carriage, traveling-show wagon, and peddler's cart until it finally arrives at its destination. Each person who finds the box along the way opens it and inserts something-a feather, a clay marble, a ribbon, coffee beans, face cream. Each leg of the journey is packed with details about life at that time and conveys the message of how people helped one another out in simple ways. Schindler's charming, detailed illustrations give more information about the journey and what life was like on the road: where people slept, what they did for entertainment, who traveled, and mishaps that might have occurred. The story has appeal for many ages and should find a place in most libraries and classrooms.-Lee Bock, Glenbrook Elementary School, Pulaski, WI Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Childrens Book Watch
M.C. Helldorfer's Hog Music features S.D. Schindler's fun, whimsical drawings of 19th century life as it tells of Lucy's birthday present. Good reading skills will assist in absorbing the paragraphs of fun detail as the gift heads to Lucy via stagecoach. Refreshingly different. Rosemary Wells' Timothy Goes To School (89182-7, $15.99) tells of Timothy's excitement over school - until he meets Claude, a perfect classmate who is the best at everything. Timothy is ready to quit until Violet comes along with the solution. A fun tale for the kindergarten crowd. Reeve Lindbergh's Awful Aardvarks Shop For School (88763-3, $15.99) tells of the aardvark family's invasion of the Shop-All-Day Mall. It's back to school time but the aardvarks have their own unique shopping lists in this zany adventure.
—Childrens Book Watch

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Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
8.75(w) x 10.26(h) x 0.40(d)
AD620L (what's this?)
Age Range:
3 - 8 Years

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