The Old Woman and Her Pig: An Old English Tale


When her newly bought pig won't go over the stile, an old woman tries to enlist the aid of some reluctant helpers so she can get home that night.

When her newly bought pig won't go over the stile, an old woman tries to enlist the aid of some reluctant helpers so she can get home that night.

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When her newly bought pig won't go over the stile, an old woman tries to enlist the aid of some reluctant helpers so she can get home that night.

When her newly bought pig won't go over the stile, an old woman tries to enlist the aid of some reluctant helpers so she can get home that night.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A traditional English cumulative tale springs merrily to life in this retelling by the illustrator of Left & Right and The Biggest Birthday Cake in the World . An old woman buys ``a pretty little pig,'' but can't get home when it refuses to go over a stile. She beseeches a dog to nip the reluctant porker, then a stick to beat the dog, a fire to burn the stick and so on, augmenting her plea until her demands are met, sending pig and owner on their way. Litzinger's sprightly text consists of strings of short, imperative sentences whose old-fashioned diction falls pleasingly on the ear: ``Stick! stick! poke dog; dog won't nip pig; piggy won't jump over the stile; and I shan't get home tonight.'' Some older children may be bothered by the lack of a clearly articulated motive--beyond the apparent wish for punishment--behind the old woman's requests. However, the tale's effective pacing, with its gradual buildup, symmetrical resolution and happy ending, renders this a very minor flaw. The unpretentious sweetness of Litzinger's pastel-toned illustrations is well suited to her simple text. Of particular note is the tale's hammy co-star, whose funny facial expressions range from a beatific smile to a worried frown. Ages 2-6. (Apr.)
School Library Journal
PreS-K-- A straightforward retelling of the classic cumulative tale. The violence has been toned down (the rope trips the farmer rather than hanging him, for instance), while the flavor of the original language has been retained (the piggy is bought with a sixpence, and refuses to go over a stile). The events move along at a nice pace, and the watercolor and colored-pencil illustrations depict a pleasant sunny countryside full of people and creatures that seem amusingly befuddled rather than doggedly determined. This attractive book happens to come out at the same time as a more dynamic and interesting version (Holiday, 1992), retold by Eric Kimmel and illustated by Giora Carmi. If libraries can only afford one, Kimmel's is the one to buy. --Lauralyn Persson, Wilmette Public Library, IL
Carolyn Phelan
Walking home from the market with her new pig, an old woman cannot make the pig climb over a stile, so she asks a dog to nip the pig. When he won't, she instructs a stick to poke the dog. When it won't, she tells the fire to burn the stick, and so on, until she finally sets off the chain of events that sends her pig scrambling over the stile. Litzinger's expressive, full-color artwork illustrates the tale like a series of scenes in a play. The rounded forms and dramatic gestures of the characters suit this familiar folktale well. Given the growing demand for cumulative tales to use in whole-language classrooms, this picture book will be a useful addition to many public and school libraries.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780606116992
  • Publisher: San Val, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 5/1/1997
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Edition description: REPRINT

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