The Pig in the Spigot

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Overview

There's more fun and trouble hidden inside everyday words than anyone guessed!

A PIG in a spigot?
An AX in a taxi?
An ELF in a belfry?

It can mean only one thing....Richard Wilbur has been playing with his words again! Aided and abetted by illustrator J.Otto Seibold, ...

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Overview

There's more fun and trouble hidden inside everyday words than anyone guessed!

A PIG in a spigot?
An AX in a taxi?
An ELF in a belfry?

It can mean only one thing....Richard Wilbur has been playing with his words again! Aided and abetted by illustrator J.Otto Seibold, Richard Wilbur reveals that words must be used carefully--because you never know what you'll find in them!

About the Author:

Richard Wilbur, a former poet laureate of the United States, has twice been awarded the Pulitzer Prize for poetry, among many honors. He lives in Cummington, Massachusetts, and Key West, Florida.

J.Otto Seibold has, with his wife, Vivian Walsh, created seven hugely popular books, including Olive, the Other Reindeer and Penguin Dreams. He lives in San Francisco, California.

Rhyming text gives many examples of short words found within longer ones such as "pig" in "spigot" and "ant" in "pantry".

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
"Because he swings so neatly through the trees, An ape feels natural in the word trapeze." Choose your words carefully, because you never know what you'll find in them! Coupled with zany illustrations from the creator of Olive, the Other Reindeer and Penguin Dreams, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Richard Wilbur's clever rhyming text offers many examples of short words found within long ones. It's wacky word fun like you've never seen before!
From the Publisher
"An auspicious pairing of artist and writer that both parent and child can enjoy many times over, thanks to the rich in Richard Wilbur and the bold in J.otto Seibold."—The New York Times Book Review

"The visual jokes are as clever as the verbal ones."
School Library Journal

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Part hide-and-seek game, part dictionary, Wilbur's (The Disappearing Alphabet) exuberant text playfully demonstrates how smaller words are found within larger ones and shows the relationship between those words' definitions: "Sea is in nausea, which seems strange to me,/ Since nausea comes from tossing in the sea." But not all the embedded word connections are as clever as that one, and some words are definitely geared to older readers ("An obol is an old Greek coin. To think/ That one should be inside a bobolink!"). But the majority of the jaunty rhymes scan well and will encourage readers young and old to be on the lookout for similar types of wordplay. Siebold (Olive, the Other Reindeer; Mr. Lunch Takes a Plane Ride) injects an extra dose of fun into his computer-generated scenes with a stylized wackiness and attention to detail. On one particularly inspired spread, the artist pairs a portrait of "The Devil... at home.../ In Mandeville, Louisiana" on the left, with a creature tortured by a "gnat in indignation," leading a swarm of friends, on the right--a sly reference to Beelzebub. Kids will also enjoy spotting the cameo appearances by Siebold's pup creation, Mr. Lunch, and Pok mon character Pikachu. All ages. (Oct.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
Punsters, poets, and reluctant readers will love this book that is filled with play on words. It begins, "Because he swings so neatly through the trees, An Ape feels natural in the word trapeze. Why do we rarely see a chicken in the city? Because a chicken is a hick at heart." A mother kangaroo gives her baby a bumpy ride. "That is the reason why, inside her pouch, her child is constantly exclaiming 'Ouch!'" And what to do "when there's a pig inside your spigot?" Why, "Be sensible, and take the obvious course, Which is to turn the spigot on full force. Sufficient pressure will, I think, Oblige the pig to flow into the sink." J. Otto Seibold's wonderful illustrations also have hidden delights—a band of ants marches across the picture accompanying a poem that tells us "Look! There's a bug in bugle!" Older kids and adult wordsmiths will no doubt be inspired to create their own playful poems. Young readers will delight at the small words hiding in big ones. 2000, Harcourt, $16.00. Ages All. Reviewer: Julie Steinberg
School Library Journal
Gr 3-6-Each of Wilbur's short poems is a play on words inspired by a word found within another word. ("Moms weep when children don't do as they say./That's why there is a sob in disobey.") The apparent simplicity of the verses is deceiving. A certain level of sophistication is needed in order for readers to comprehend the wry humor and some of the vocabulary in the 2-to-10 liners. Seibold used Adobe Illustrator to create the eccentric, full-page color cartoons, busy with animal and human caricatures, line drawings, patterns, and words printed in a variety of colors. Even the illustrator's familiar Mr. Lunch makes an appearance. The visual jokes are as clever as the verbal ones. These nonsensical puns could be used to inspire creativity in the classroom.-Susan Scheps, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Wilbur's credentials as a poet are impeccable: a former US Poet Laureate, he has twice won the Pulitzer Prize as well as the National Book Award and has written several previous books of children's poetry (The Disappearing Alphabet, 1998, etc.), focusing on imaginative wordplay. Unfortunately, stellar achievements as a poet for adults don't always translate into winning children's poetry. The 28 short poems in this uneven collection all include the same device of highlighting shorter words that can be found in longer ones, with the particular words spotlighted in italics in the text. When the words sound the same (pig in spigot, ax in taxi, ouch in pouch), the wordplay device works well, and these poems could provide some clever spelling lessons for first or second graders. But when the highlighted words are spelled the same, but pronounced differently (cat in location, gnat in indignation, emu in demure), the wordplay doesn't really work, and the device of the word within a word (and often the poem itself) becomes more of an academic exercise. Some of the poems are simple and witty; some are almost boring or include words unfamiliar to primary-grade children; and one poem about the devil is nearly predestined to cause trouble in any community with conservative parents looking for untoward influences in children's books. Siebold (Olive the Other Reindeer, 1997, and the Mr. Lunch series) almost saves the book with his gloriously wacky illustrations, including his own additions of puns both visual and literary. As the poet himself writes, "Now that you've read this book; I hope you'll say / That what you found inside it was OK." It is OK—for large poetry collections or foravidcollectors of Siebold's work. (Poetry. 7-9) Willis, Jeanne WHAT DID I LOOK LIKE WHEN I WAS A BABY? Illus. by Tony Ross Putnam (32 pp.) Oct. 2000
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780152050665
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 10/28/2004
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 56
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.30 (w) x 10.40 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

RICHARD WILBUR, one of America’s most beloved poets, has served as poet

J.OTTO SEIBOLD is the co-creator of Harcourt's Olive, My Love and Gluey: A Snail Tale. He also illustrated The Pig in the Spigot, written by former U.S. Poet Laureate Richard Wilbur (Harcourt 2000), as well as a slew of other books written by Vivian Walsh: Penguin Dreams (Chronicle, 1999), Olive, the Other Reindeer (Chronicle, 1997), Going to the Getty (J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), Monkey Business (Viking, 1995), and Free Lunch (Viking, 1996). Mr. Seibold live in San Francisco, California.

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