Mercy Watson to the Rescue (Mercy Watson Series #1)

( 14 )

Overview

It’s the best thing since buttered toast — Mercy Watson in paperback!

To Mr. and Mrs. Watson, Mercy is not just a pig — she’s a porcine wonder. And to the good-natured Mercy, the Watsons are an excellent source of buttered toast, not to mention that buttery-toasty feeling she gets when she snuggles into bed with them. This is not, however, so good for the Watsons’ bed. BOOM! CRACK!

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Overview

It’s the best thing since buttered toast — Mercy Watson in paperback!

To Mr. and Mrs. Watson, Mercy is not just a pig — she’s a porcine wonder. And to the good-natured Mercy, the Watsons are an excellent source of buttered toast, not to mention that buttery-toasty feeling she gets when she snuggles into bed with them. This is not, however, so good for the Watsons’ bed. BOOM! CRACK!

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Mercy Watson is a very lovable pig who enjoys the finer things in life, especially buttered toast and sugar cookies. Mr. and Mr. Watson indulge their portly porcine; in fact, they happily share their bed with their portly, good-natured friend. Unfortunately, even the sturdiest of beds can bear only so much pig weight.
From The Critics
For kids feeling a wee bit big for picture books, this first title in a new chapter-book series is a perfect fit. With a beguiling blend of slapstick and whimsy, DiCamillo (author of The Tale of Despereaux and Because of Winn-Dixie) introduces readers to Mercy Watson, a coddled pet pig or, rather, a "porcine wonder" who favors hot buttered toast and sleeping with owners Mr. and Mrs. Watson. (Van Dusen's amusing pictures add to the merriment.) Then tragedy strikes when Mercy's weight causes the family bed to start sinking through the floor. What ever will Mercy do? (ages 6 to 8)
Child magazine's Best Children's Book Awards 2005
Publishers Weekly
Newbery Medalist DiCamillo (The Tale of Despereaux) once again displays her versatility with this jaunty debut to an early chapter-book series. The tale stars Mercy, a pig with personality a-plenty-and a penchant for "hot toast with a great deal of butter on it." When Mr. and Mrs. Watson tuck Mercy into bed at night and switch off the light, their pet no longer feels "warm and buttery-toasty inside" and decides "she would be much happier if she wasn't sleeping alone." So she climbs into the Watsons' bed and dreams of hot buttered toast, until the overloaded bed begins to fall through the floor. Mercy's obsession prompts her to hop off the bed-her devoted owners convinced that she's gone to summon the fire department. Alas, the peckish porcine's single-minded pursuit leads her to the kind next-door neighbor and ultimately does prompt a call to the fire department-but not before a series of comical twists (involving the kind neighbor's sister, Eugenia, who is of the opinion that "pigs should not live in houses"). Van Dusen's (If I Built a Car, reviewed above) boldly hued, tactically hyperbolic gouache paintings tap into the narrative's wry humor and joie de vivre-a memorable sequence depicts Eugenia in curlers and bathrobe chasing Mercy through the yards and winding up in an exhausted heap atop the porker heroine. Everyone ends up around the Watsons' table where the besotted couple piles up the undeserved toast for their "porcine wonder"-a fitting cap to this animated pig tale. Ages 6-8. (Sept.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2-Mercy Watson, a disarmingly charming pig adopted by a loving human family, makes her debut in this new series of chapter books for beginning readers. After the Watsons tuck Mercy into bed with a sweet song and a kiss, she feels "warm inside, as if she has just eaten hot toast with a great deal of butter on it." However, afraid of the dark, she snuggles into bed with the couple. Moments later, all three are rudely awakened from their lovely dreams with a "BOOM!" as their bed falls into a hole that has opened in the floor beneath them. In hot pursuit of buttered toast, "the porcine wonder" inadvertently gets help and saves the day. Along the way, she causes great, humorous distress to the next-door Lincoln sisters. Van Dusen's bright gouache illustrations have a jovial exaggerated style and capture the sometimes frantic action and silliness of Mercy's "heroic" escapade.-Lee Bock, Glenbrook Elementary School, Pulaski, WI Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Hilarity and hijinks abound in this tale about a voracious swine with an overweening yen for hot buttered toast. Mercy is the beloved pet pig of the doting Mr. and Mrs. Watson. When Mercy sneaks into her owner's bed one night, her added heft causes the bed to fall partway through the ceiling. Although the besotted Watsons assume Mercy is trotting off to seek help, the only search and rescue Mercy seems to care about involves butter and hot bread. In her quest for some midnight munchies, Mercy awakens the crotchety neighbor. Wild chases and mayhem ensue before help arrives in the guise of firefighters. DiCamillo aims for over-the-top fun with her tale of porcine shenanigans, and Van Dusen's gouache illustrations provide a comical counterpart to the text. The glossy paintings, with exaggerated caricatures and lively colors, complement DiCamillo's tone, although the scowling, lantern-jawed visage of the crabby neighbor borders on the unpleasant. With vocabulary that may prove too challenging for a novice, DiCamillo's tale is best suited for those ready to move up. However, the pacing and the action easily make it right for shared reading. (Fiction. 6-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763645045
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 12/22/2009
  • Series: Mercy Watson Series , #1
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 80
  • Sales rank: 32,004
  • Age range: 6 - 9 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.46 (w) x 8.28 (h) x 0.23 (d)

Meet the Author

Kate DiCamillo
Kate DiCamillo is the author of THE TALE OF DESPEREAUX, which received the Newbery Medal; BECAUSE OF WINN-DIXIE, which received a Newbery Honor; and THE TIGER RISING, which was named a National Book Award Finalist. She says, "Mercy Watson had been in my head for a long time, but I couldn't figure out how to tell her story. One day, my friend Alison was going on and on and on about the many virtues of toast. As I listened to her, I could see Mercy nodding in emphatic agreement. Sometimes you don't truly understand a character until you know what she loves above all else."

Chris Van Dusen is the author-illustrator of DOWN TO THE SEA WITH MR. MAGEE, A CAMPING SPREE WITH MR. MAGEE, and IF I BUILT A CAR. He says, "When I first read Mercy Watson to the Rescue, the characters were very vivid in my mind, and they just came to life when I started painting. This is exactly the type of story I love to illustrate – a wonderfully silly adventure with lots of action." This is his first book with Candlewick Press.

Biography

Kate DiCamillo was born in Philadelphia, moved to Florida's warmer climate when she was five years old, and landed in Minneapolis in her 20s.

While working at a children's bookstore, DiCamillo wrote her first novel, Because of Winn-Dixie (2000). It was inspired by one of the worst winters in Minnesota, when she became homesick for Florida after overhearing a little girl with a southern accent. One thing led to another, and soon DiCamillo had created the voice of Opal Buloni, a resilient ten-year-old girl who has just moved to a small town in Florida with her father. Opal's mother abandoned the family when she was three years old, and her father has a hard time explaining why.

Thoug her father is busy and she has no friends, Opal's life takes a turn for the better when she adopts a fun-loving stray dog, Winn-Dixie (named after the supermarket where she found him, out in the parking lot). With Winn-Dixie as her guide, Opal makes friends with the eccentric people of her new town and even convinces her father to talk about her mother. Through Opal, readers are given a gift: a funny and heartrending story of how one girl's spirit can change her life and others'. Critics loved the book as much as readers, and in 2001, Because of Winn-Dixie was named a Newbery Honor Book.

DiCamillo's second novel, The Tiger Rising (2001), also deals with the importance of friendships, families, and making changes. Twelve-year-old Rob Horton and his father are dealing with grief, anger, and isolation after moving to Lister, Florida, six months after Rob's mother succumbs to cancer. Rob's father has a job at a motel (where they both also live), but it barely pays the bills. Struggling through the loss of his mother, Rob stifles his many confusing emotions as he battles bullies at his new school, worries about a rash on his legs, and copes with living in poverty.

In many ways, The Tiger Rising is a darker, more challenging story than Because of Winn-Dixie, but there is a similar light of deliverance in this beautiful novel: the healing power of friendship. Two meetings change Rob's life. First, he encounters a caged lion in the woods. Shortly thereafter he meets Sistine, who has recently moved to Lister after her parents' divorce. Sistine and Rob are polar opposites -- she stands up to the school bullies and lets out every bit of her anger at her parents' divorce and her relocation. Through Sistine, Rob recognizes himself in the caged lion, and the story of how the two children free the beast is one of the most engaging reads in contemporary young adult fiction. With the lion free, Rob is free to grieve the loss of his mother and move on with his bittersweet new life in Lister. A National Book Award finalist, The Tiger Rising is hard to put down as it overflows with raw, engaging emotion.

In 2003, DiCamillo's third novel, The Tale of Despereaux, was released to the delight of readers and critics alike. This odd but enthralling fairy tale also touches on some of the topics from her first two novels -- parental abandonment and finding the courage to be yourself. The hero, Despereaux Tilling, is a mouse who has always been different from the rest of his family, and to make matters worse, he has broken a serious rule: interacting with humans, particularly Princess Pea, who captures his heart. When Despereaux finds himself in trouble with the mouse community, he is saddened to learn that his father will not defend him. Characters in the tale are Princess Pea, whose mother died after seeing a rat in her soup; King Pea, who, in his grief, declares that no soup may be served anywhere in the kingdom; Miggery Sow, a servant girl who dreams of being a princess after being sold into servitude by her father after her mother dies; and Roscuro, a villainous rat with a curious soup obsession.

The story of how the characters' paths cross makes The Tale of Despereaux an adventurous read, reminiscent of Grimm's fairy tales. In the spirit of love and forgiveness, Despereaux changes everyone's life, including his own. As the unnamed, witty narrator of the novel tells us, "Every action, reader, no matter how small, has a consequence." Kate DiCamillo's limitless imagination and her talent for emotional storytelling earned her one of the most prestigious honors a children's author can receive -- in 2004, she was awarded the Newbery Medal.

Good To Know

DiCamillo wrote The Tale of Despereaux for a friend's son, who had asked her to write a story for him about a hero with large ears.

In our interview, DiCamillo shared some other fun facts with us: :

"I can't cook and I'm always on the lookout for a free meal."

"I love dogs and I'm an aunt to a very bad dog named Henry."

"My first job was at McDonald's. I was overjoyed when I got a nickel raise."

"I'm a pretty boring person. I like reading. I like eating dinner out with friends. I like walking Henry. And I like to laugh."

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    1. Hometown:
      Minneapolis, Minnesota
    1. Date of Birth:
      March 25, 1964
    2. Place of Birth:
      Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    1. Education:
      B.A. in English, University of Florida at Gainesville, 1987

Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 14 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 14 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 14, 2010

    Read Aloud Dad verdict: GET YOUR LIBRARY CARD OUT!

    The real star of the Mercy Watson series is without a doubt illustrator Chris Van Dusen. I almost feel as if I am sinning when I say that the first Mercy Watson book is not an obligatory buy. Alas, the story isn't strong enough to keep up with the fine illustrations. Despite Kate DiCamillo's good effort, the first Mercy Watson story almost falls flat, were it not for Van Dusen's marvelous pictures.
    It is simply such a fabulous book to look through and your eyes will feast on the pictures from page 1 all the way to page 80. Van Dusen's art work is much stronger in his own picture books A Camping Spree with Mr Magee, Down to the Sea with Mr Magee, and his two knock-out editions - If I Built a Car and The Circus Ship.
    The language in Mercy Watson to the Rescue is a bit stilted and although we all wanted to love it, it was not really love at first sight. Both my kids and I fell in love with the idea of a pig that loves buttered toast and her selfless owners. And such a cute pig too. But if you want to splash your cash on one or two Mercy Watson books, better ones followed after this one.
    Also, make sure to glance at the Mercy Watson: Three-Treat Collection: Slipcased Gift Set, which consists of the first three Mercy Watson books at a lower price than the combined price of all three (were you to buy them individually).
    In short, loan this one from the library to introduce your kids to Mercy Watson and the inimitable Chris Van Dusen. But save your cash for DiCamillo's and Van Dusen's better works.
    VERDICT: GET YOUR LIBRARY CARD OUT!
    ReadAloudDad(.)Blogspot(.)Com

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 22, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    It is fantastic book for kids. My son loves it. You have to read it.

    Funny and educational.

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  • Posted January 2, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Funniest Mercy Watson yet!

    I really enjoyed this book.  My favorite characters are Mercy and Eugena Lincoln.  Their relationship isn't the best but it provides alot of comedy.  The story is fascinating and I couldn't put it down.  I read the whole thing in one sitting! I am a 2nd grader who loves to read!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2009

    It was a great read

    My 6 year old daughter read the book in less than 30 minutes. She loved the story and can't wait for more Mercy Watson books to land in the bookstores.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2009

    Perfect for my four and five year old

    We have now ordered the rest of these books because my kids loved this one. It has just the right words/picture ratio, vocabulary, and subtlety of humor for almost-readers. We also recommend the author's book about the adventures of Louise the chicken.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2008

    Porcine wonderful!

    My second grade class loves having these books read to them for read aloud. They are wonderfully entertaining stories that also provide lots of teaching examples for early readers and writers. The illustrations are superbly done. I also love that the books are done in chapters. It makes them more appealing to young children, and their parents, who all to soon and too often believe that reading a non-chapter book is too easy for them. I see too many children reading pages of words in thick books that they do not comprehend. These books are great in many ways. Thank you Kate and Mercy!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 12, 2007

    Mercy Watson Is a Reader's Wonder

    Mercy Watson is a great book for first graders. My daughter read this aloud to me, with a little help, and she loved it. The illustrations are great also. The story line really moves along and kept her interest. The writer also repeats new vocabulary words in an engaging way, which gets the young reader to recognize the new words readily. I am glad this is a series and we'll definitely be reading more about the 'porcine wonder.'

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2006

    Great Book!!

    I bought this book for my youngest daughter and she is crazy about it. It is a chapter book, but she stayed interested until the end and she is only 3 years old. I would suggest this book for anyone. It is so cute and funny.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 2005

    A reading pleasure

    Mercy is a fun and cutest pig. The story is hilarious and the illustrations are delightful. I can't wait to get to the end of the story and start all over again!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 7, 2005

    Mercy is Mercenary....about Toast!

    Kate Di Camillo is a very versatile author. On the heels of several books geared towards an upper-elementary audience, this book is written for the younger set. Or is it? It took me only a short time to read this delightful little book and I can understand why Max, the precocious 2- year old son of the author's best friend, insists upon hearing it read aloud EVERY night... 'much to his mother's chagrin,' reports Kate. (Chagrin because it is longer than the conventional picture book.) Mercy is a real character study. She is a simple little pig, much adored by her family. Chris Van Dusen's illustrations show Mercy as the center of attention: In the pictures on the walls, in the house, and even with her OWN bedroom, complete with bed and all the amenities of a middle class childhood. A series of events make up the story for this book, the first volume in what looks like a future series from the Di Camillo and Van Dusen partnership. Mercy will have many adventures because everything she does HAPPENS to work out for a very tidy ending and there is lots of humor to keep the story interesting. I wonder if Mercy was named because it could be construed as short or 'mercenary.' Mercy has one great love in life, and that is hot buttered toast. The higher the stack, the better. She dreams of it. She craves it. It is this single-minded pursuit of hot buttered toast that sets this book in motion - after, of course, she causes a bed to ALMOST fall through the floor with her human 'parents' on board, and a neighbor to mistake her for a monster.

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    Posted November 29, 2008

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    Posted January 11, 2013

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    Posted February 6, 2010

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    Posted April 1, 2014

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