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Children's LiteratureAlthough pigs Thomas and Joseph are sloppy, lazy, and dirty, they are content. Not so their neighboring animals, who plan together to do something about tidying up. But when the hens try to persuade the pigs to paint their fence, they get nowhere, and have to do it themselves. When rabbit sends them to pick vegetables for dinner, she has to rescue the garden from disaster. The duck has to dig a cleansing water hole by himself, since the pigs cannot seem to get the idea. At the end of the day, the other animals are exhausted but pleased with the results, despite the pigs' seeming inability to do anything to help. Still, as they look at the contented porkers, they wonder who the dumb ones are. Certainly not the "couple of big stinkers." The bare-bones text provides the frame for Cole's watercolor, ink, and colored pencil comic visuals. The double-page scenes offer the other animal characters in the drama a chance to express their outrage and anger, while the pair of fat pigs display only the most bemused and satisfied of reactions. The illustration on the front of the resting pigs, eyes half-open amid the mud, and the confronting critters on the back prepare us for the predictable fun inside. 2006, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, Ages 4 to 8.
—Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz