My Pig Amarillo

Overview

Amarillo is Pablito's best friend. They do everything together-run, hide from each other, jump in the mud. They are inseparable, just like many best friends. But Amarillo is a bit different-he is a little yellow pig.

When Pablito comes home from school one day and Amarillo isn't there, Pablito is devastated. Where could he be? Pablito can't eat; he can't sleep.  His heart feels as if it will break wide open. But Grandfather has an idea, a ...

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Overview

Amarillo is Pablito's best friend. They do everything together-run, hide from each other, jump in the mud. They are inseparable, just like many best friends. But Amarillo is a bit different-he is a little yellow pig.

When Pablito comes home from school one day and Amarillo isn't there, Pablito is devastated. Where could he be? Pablito can't eat; he can't sleep.  His heart feels as if it will break wide open. But Grandfather has an idea, a way for Pablito to send a message to Amarillo, and help him say goodbye to his best friend.

My Pig Amarillo is a beautiful story for children of all ages, full of friendship and love and learning to let go.

Pablito, a Guatemalan boy whose pet pig Amarillo has disappeared, uses a kite to send him a message that he still loves him.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Pablito, a Guatemalan boy, is devastated when his beloved pet pig, Amarillo, disappears. "Where are you, Amarillo? Where did you go? And why did you leave?" Pablito cries into his pillow. A few days later, his grandfather gently advises him that Amarillo may have had an accident and died; if so, says the man, "he is in peace with angels in the sky. He must be happy up there." Grandpa reminds Pablito what people "here" do when they miss those who have died: "We send them a message in the sky.... We fly kites on All Saints' Day. That's how we send them messages." Affectingly conveying Pablito's grief, Ichikawa's (The First Bear in Africa!) watercolors also balance the vibrant hues and patterns of the characters' clothing with the muted tones of the mountainous Guatemalan landscape. Pablito's environment brims with intriguing elements, from the loom where his mother and sister weave striped cloth to the colorful bus that his father drives (among the bundles on top of the bus sits a male passenger) to the family's old-fashioned kitchen. The ending delivers the "message in the sky" that the boy needs in order to find closure. On All Saint's Day, Pablito releases his kite into the clouds, which reshape themselves to form a detailed picture of Amarillo's face. The lack of ambiguity in the image in the clouds may be a stretch for some readers, but those who have experienced a grief similar to Pablito's will likely find the image reassuring. Ages 4-8. (May) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Set in Guatemala, this is the story of Pablito and his pet pig, Amarillo, which means yellow in Spanish. The pig is shy at first, but Pablito works to make his best friend happy. One day, Amarillo is missing when Pablito gets home from school. The boy searches and calls and truly misses this best friend. His grandfather carves him a little wooden pig, and though Pablito is grateful, he feels as if his heart is breaking. Grandpa explains that sometimes pets have accidents, and that the pig "is in peace with angels." Then he suggests that Pablito follow the Guatemalan custom of sending messages by flying kites on All Saints' Day, and the boy makes a pig kite and sends it adrift. A cloud that seems to have Amarillo's face appears, and the child is comforted. Authentic Guatemalan scenes are beautifully painted in watercolor, showing tender emotions and anguish. This is a lovely book to use to promote multiculturalism as it depicts a common loss. 2002, Philomel Books,
— Candace Deisley
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2-Pablito and his pet piglet are constant companions. When Amarillo suddenly disappears, the bereft Guatemalan boy searches for many days but is unable to find him. Realizing that his pig "could have had an accident and may have died," Pablito, with his grandfather's encouragement, makes a kite for All Saints' Day to send his friend a message of love (a tradition in Guatemala). The realistic watercolor illustrations, many unfolding across spreads, are most effective when Ichikawa pulls back to reveal a panoramic view of a room or hillside. She uses a somber, gray-drenched palette during Pablito's search and the realization of his loss, with brighter tones highlighting happier times. The matter-of-fact introduction of the animal's death ("These things happen, Grandpa says") may be slightly jarring to young children in what appears to be a story about a lost pet, and the ending, showing a cloud that looks like a pig, is somewhat contrived. However, as a brief glimpse into another culture and All Saints' Day traditions, this title may have a place in larger collections.-Marge Loch-Wouters, Menasha's Public Library, WI Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A story of a young Guatemalan boy who loses his beloved pig is a masterpiece of picture-book making. One day Pablito’s grandfather brings him a tiny yellow pig on a leash. The pictures show his excitement and the developing bond between boy and pig. One day when Pablito returns from school, Amarillo is nowhere to be found. Surrounded by barnyard birds and the family cat and dog, Pablito looks in vain for his best friend. Neither mother and sister, weaving colorful fabric, nor father driving an equally colorful bus, has seen him. The previously white background darkens, and the bright colors fade. Pablito pushes his plate away at the dinner table and the whole family visibly shares his sorrow. Alone at night, illuminated by a single candle, Pablito cries into his pillow. Finally, there is resolution on All Saints’ Day, with its traditional kite-flying to send messages to loved ones who’ve died. The pacing of text and pictures, the sense of movement, and the use of space, line, and color are perfect on every page. Sure to become a classic. (Picture book. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780399237683
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 5/28/2003
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.82 (w) x 10.78 (h) x 0.44 (d)

Meet the Author

Satomi Ichikawa, creator of the Nora books, lives in Paris, France.
Satomi Ichikawa, creator of the Nora books, lives in Paris, France.

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