Waltur Buys a Pig in a Poke and Other Stories

Overview

“Be careful,” said Matilda. “Do not buy a pig in a poke.” “What’s a poke?” asked Darwin.

Yes, what is a poke? And why would Waltur, a bear, buy a pig, anyway?
Together with the help of his best friends, Matilda and Darwin, Waltur is about to find out the wisdom of Matilda’s words. Through trial and error, he will also learn the truths behind two other funny old sayings: “Don’t count your chickens before they hatch” (why not?) and “You can lead ...

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Overview

“Be careful,” said Matilda. “Do not buy a pig in a poke.” “What’s a poke?” asked Darwin.

Yes, what is a poke? And why would Waltur, a bear, buy a pig, anyway?
Together with the help of his best friends, Matilda and Darwin, Waltur is about to find out the wisdom of Matilda’s words. Through trial and error, he will also learn the truths behind two other funny old sayings: “Don’t count your chickens before they hatch” (why not?) and “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink” (wanna bet?).

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Gregorich's . . . prose tickles nascent readers while building their confidence. Sorra's . . . chipper spot watercolors add just the right touch of comic visual stimuli."—PW, starred Publishers Weekly, Starred

"In an entertaining early-reader chapter book, Gregorich tells three funny animal stories that dramatize idioms and play with words in a cozy domestic setting. . . . The wordplay will appeal to kids as much as the wry outcomes." ––Booklist Booklist, ALA

"The author makes excellent use of repetition, sight words, and engaging dialogue...These clever and accessible tales will capture the interest of young readers." School Library Journal

"An amusing way to introduce the idea of metaphor - or wordplay in general." Kirkus Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this funny early reader, a dimwitted bear named Waltur learns-the hard way-what is really meant by three age-old idioms, each highlighted in its own story. (The stories are further broken down into four easy-to-digest chunks.) Waltur's wise and patient roommate Matilda introduces each adage, then watches as Waltur's subsequent clueless behavior drives home the meaning of the moral. In the first tale, Waltur is eager to buy a pet pig at the fair. "Do not buy a pig in a poke," says Matilda, explaining that a poke is a bag. "You should not buy what you cannot see." But when a wily fox proffers a pig in a box, Waltur figures he's home free. The pig, however, turns out to be imperious and usurps Waltur's place in front of the TV. The second tale's exegesis on "Don't count your chickens before they are hatched" finds Waltur hatching a money-making scheme by raising chickens from eggs but finds himself stuck with a passel of ducklings. The final story teaches the meaning of "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink." Despite Waltur's missteps, things do work out for him, sending an upbeat message to youngsters that at times one only learns by trial and error. Gregorich's (Beep, Beep!) prose tickles nascent readers while building their confidence (Waltur to the horse: "I can make you drink water." Horse to Waltur: "I think not"). Sorra's (King o' the Cats) chipper spot watercolors add just the right touch of comic visual stimuli. An afterword offers a brief history on each idiom. Ages 7-10. (July) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Gr 1-4-Gregorich has fun with idioms in this easy reader featuring a single-minded bear. First, Waltur plans to get a pet and his friend Matilda cautions him, "Do not buy a pig in a poke," meaning sight unseen. He takes the advice literally and purchases a pig sealed not in a bag, but in a box, and ends up with an unpleasantly bossy porker. Next, the enterprising bear plans to raise chickens from eggs and sell them for honey money. When Matilda warns, "Don't count your chickens before they are hatched," Waltur refrains from counting the actual number of eggs, but remains convinced that they will all hatch without a hitch. He is in for a surprise when the big day arrives. In the third tale, Waltur is determined to prove Matilda wrong when she says, "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink," but only succeeds in landing in the drink himself. The author makes excellent use of repetition, sight words, and engaging dialogue to create a manageable and entertaining read. Sorra's cartoon-style watercolors are perfectly suited to the lively text and help round out the characters' personalities with added emotional details. A brief note introduces idioms and explains the origins of those that appear in the book. These clever and accessible tales will capture the interest of youngsters who are ready for short chapters but are still most comfortable with the beginning-reader format.-Carol L. MacKay, Forestburg School Library, Alberta, Canada Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Cohabitants Waltur (a bear) and Matilda (a beaver) explore figures of speech in three episodes for emergent readers. Persistently taking little Matilda's cautionary aphorisms literally, Waltur searches the market for a new pet, refusing to buy several pigs in pokes (bags), but naively bringing one home (with disastrous results) because it's in a box. He then proceeds to prove out the truth of an old fable by assuming that a clutch of eggs will hatch out as chickens and finally he makes a deliberate effort to prove Matilda wrong by leading a horse to water and trying to force it to drink. Sorra illustrates with simply drawn scenes featuring a big bear, a small beaver and the occasional supporting character in comfy country dress. Each episode ends well, despite mishaps, and in the third, Waltur, discovering that persuasion works better than force, demonstrates that he's not such a dim bulb after all. Gregorich both shows and explains what each saying means, and supplies glimpses of their history at the end to boot. An amusing way to introduce the idea of metaphor-or wordplay in general. (Easy reader. 7-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780618473069
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 7/24/2006
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Edition description: None
  • Pages: 64
  • Age range: 8 - 10 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.31 (d)

Meet the Author

Barbara Gregorich loves proverbs and folk wisdom, particularly about animals and especially about horses. She lives in Chicago with her husband.

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