From the Publisher
"Costello’s winsome tale explores the travails of being the youngest and the littlest."
"Costello isn't pioneering new ground with this story of how a family's littlest member asserts his competence, but the combination of lovely and understated text, sly watercolors, and a protagonist who knows in his heart that he's right make the premise feel fresh and funny."
"An uplifting tale with a gentle lesson about how even the smallest member of the band has something to contribute."
"Young readers will likely recognize Little Pig's predicament and give his take-charge solution a big hand."
The Horn Book Magazine
"Sometimes Little Pig didn't like being little, or even being called Little Pig," writes Costello, as his diminutive hero, taking up what readers can assume is his usual position at the distant end of a family procession, vainly attempts to remind his oblivious relations: "My name is Jacob!" Things only get worse when the family puts together an impromptu band from Grandpa's collection of instruments: when Little Pig asks whether there's something smaller to play, like a piccolo, an elder cheerfully remarks, "There's a jar in the fridge, behind the olives." But the ensemble gives Little Pig his opening when they prove utterly unable to coordinate their movements: seeing them colliding and collapsed in a pig pile on the floor, Little Pig "knew what the problem was—the band needed a leader!" Costello (I Can Help) isn't pioneering new ground with this story of how a family's littlest member asserts his competence, but the combination of lovely and understated text, sly watercolors, and a protagonist who knows in his heart that he's right make the premise feel fresh and funny. Ages 4–7. (July)
School Library Journal
PreS—Little Pig would like to be called by his given name, Jacob, as he doesn't appreciate the way his nickname is a constant reminder of his diminutive size. One day, while visiting their grandfather, he and his four older siblings come across a box filled with Grandpa's old marching-band paraphernalia. Finding the tuba, trombone, drum, and trumpet too large for him, Little Pig looks around for something smaller, such as a kazoo or harmonica. He can't find anything his size and feels left out of the fun. As he sits watching and listening to his brothers and sisters play the various instruments, he realizes that they don't know the first thing about being a marching band. He retrieves a whistle, baton, and red cap from the box and takes charge of the motley crew. Under his direction, the foursome, plus Grandpa, are soon marching in step and playing a tune together. Being at the head instead of the customary tail end makes him proud, and he realizes that even the littlest among us can make a big impact. The author's appealing ink and watercolor illustrations vary in size and will hold readers' attention as they adeptly convey the piglet's emotional journey.—Maryann H. Owen, Racine Public Library, WI
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Little Pig does not enjoy being called "Little Pig" instead of his real name, Jacob. When his older brothers and sisters take out Grandpa's old band instruments, Little Pig is very disappointed to be too small to play any of them. As each sibling takes an instrument and begins to march, however, he notes their disorganization. He decides they need a leader. With an ear and double-page-splitting "TWEET" in a red blast of color from a whistle, Little Pig, now in drum major's hat with baton, gets everyone organized. As they thank him, finally calling him Jacob, he decides that "Little Pig" will do. Ink and watercolors are used to visualize this very appealing hero of the light-hearted tale. The anthropomorphic pigs all ignore one another and give comic responses when Little Pig asks for a small instrument. Words hang in the air without speech balloons in amusing asides. The subtle drawing suits the narrative. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Costello's winsome tale explores the travails of being the youngest and the littlest.
When Little Pig, a.k.a. Jacob, and his brothers and sisters visit their grandpa, they break out his old marching-band instruments. Little Pig, to his dismay, discovers he's just too little to play the drum or trumpet, let alone the trombone or tuba. When his siblings can't get their playing or marching act together—hey presto!—a drum major is born, small of stature but packing a big whistle. Much of the book's amiability derives from the artwork, sure-handed watercolors that are active but not busy, with (most of) the pigs having a merry old time trooping about, tooting and pounding away, collapsing in a heap. Yet the words add a considerable measure to the pleasure. Costello has built a story under the arching narrative, a body of asides that add color commentary: "Do we have any piccolos?" asks Little Pig. "There's a jar in the fridge, behind the olives," replies his distracted sister. "A kazoo?" "Gesundheit." And when Little Pig does succeed—wielding his baton, he is now Jacob in his siblings' eyes—he takes it with humility: "You can call me Little Pig."
Humor lifts the story from a simple tale of woe to transcendence.(Picture book. 4-7)
Read an Excerpt
Sometimes Little Pig didn't like being little, or even being called Little Pig. When his brothers and sisters got out Grandpa's old marching-band instruments, Little Pig looked for something he could play. Little Pig was too little to play the drum, so Margie played the drum. Little Pig was too little to play the trombone, so Peter played the trombone. Little Pig was too little to play the trumpet, so Sally played the trumpet.