Wishes, Kisses, and Pigs

( 4 )

Overview

Eleven-year-old Louise Tolliver lives with her mother and her brother, Willie, in Tollivers' Hollow. Like any brother, Willie gives Louise a hard time, but the trouble really starts when Louise calls him a pig ? and he becomes one.
And that's not all. Louise's father has been missing for seven years, and the locals are starting to wonder about Tollivers' Hollow. It's now up to Louise to use her wishes for good and make right all that's gone wrong. She uses her head, her heart, ...

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Overview

Eleven-year-old Louise Tolliver lives with her mother and her brother, Willie, in Tollivers' Hollow. Like any brother, Willie gives Louise a hard time, but the trouble really starts when Louise calls him a pig — and he becomes one.
And that's not all. Louise's father has been missing for seven years, and the locals are starting to wonder about Tollivers' Hollow. It's now up to Louise to use her wishes for good and make right all that's gone wrong. She uses her head, her heart, and a little bit of magic to bring her family back home.

After eleven-year-old Louise makes a wish on the first evening star and her brother turns into a pig, she uses wishes, kisses, and spells to try to put things right again.

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Editorial Reviews

From The Critics
"Nature's magical and magic's natural," says a character in this refreshing novel that seamlessly blends magic and everyday life. One evening eleven-year-old Louise, who lives on a mountainside farm, complains that her brother, Willie, is a pig. The first star, which has just appeared, apparently takes her comment as a wish, for Willie disappears&3151;and the next day a white, blue-eyed pig appears. Louise and her mother, both likable characters, scheme to restore Willie to human shape.
—Kathleen Odean

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
"Be careful what you wish for" is the lesson that resounds (a bit too loudly) throughout this offbeat fairy tale set in Tollivers' Hollow, "said to be a peculiar place, even a perilous place." Farm girl Louise calls her brother a pig at the exact moment she wishes upon a star. The next thing she knows, brother Willie is gone; soon after, a big white pig with "sky blue" eyes like Willie's mysteriously appears. Holding herself responsible for the unfortunate transformation, Louise determines to set things right. But how? Offering a supporting cast of comical characters, a dash of philosophy and generous dose of surprises, the energetic story calls to mind Sid Hite's farm-family fantasies. But while it shares Hite's spirited folksiness and quirkiness, it lacks Hite's internal logic and consistent tone; Hearne's (Listening for Leroy) occasional attempts at seriousness are too pointed and her characters' inspirations somewhat arbitrary. Some motifs don't cohere for example, there are hints that the Tollivers are descendants of Jack of Beanstalk fame, but not enough to make the connection meaningful. Those expecting an all's-well end to a playful romp instead receive a confusing message about desire, fate and nature, plus a parting image of a child making funeral plans for a beloved animal. Like Louise and her wish, this story is a strange mix of potent language and disjointed events. Ages 8-12. (Apr.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
When Louise wishes that her brother were a pig, he disappears and a pig with sky-blue eyes shows up. In her first attempt to get Willie back, Louise wishes on a star for the dirty pig in the barn to become human. Presto! The old sow becomes an old woman and Willie remains a pig. Now what can she do? What if she only has three wishes and she has already used up two? There are other strange happenings on the Toliver farm. Their father disappeared seven years ago, but there is a friendly owl that always hangs out nearby. The pig-turned-human eats slops out of a bucket and is befuddled by clothes and furniture. The bumbling sheriff is more interested in courting Mrs. Toliver than finding her missing son. And, poor Willie tries to talk, but it sounds more like a grunt. In the end, Louise gathers all of the characters (humans as well as animals) together on a clear night of a new moon. As the first star appears, Louise makes her wish and all are changed back to their original forms. The book is full of humor and love. 2001, Margaret K. McElderry Books, 16.00. Ages 9 to 12. Reviewer: Janet L. Rose
School Library Journal
Gr 3-6-Louise Tolliver loves Tolliver's Hollow, the "peculiar" place where she lives with her mother and brother. She just wishes that her father hadn't disappeared seven years ago, and that her brother didn't tease her so much. Still, when she calls Willie a pig as the evening star appears, she never meant for him to become one. Then certain folks become a little too interested in the new pig, whom they think would be perfect to serve at the town's picnic, and the sheriff and his brother both want to court her mother. When Louise's first attempt at rectifying the wish gone awry only causes more problems, she has to think very carefully about how to put things right. Hearne has written a delightful novel about the dangers of getting what you wish for. Louise is an engaging girl who is determined to bring order to her disorderly world. This is not an easy thing to do, but she accomplishes it through ingenuity, perfect timing, and a heap of luck. The colloquialisms used to describe farm life accentuate the rural charm of the plot. Children will enjoy this enchanting story as much as the parents with whom they will want to share it.-Betsy Fraser, Calgary Public Library, Canada Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Child Magazine
A Child Magazine Best Book of 2001 Pick

Did Louise really turn her brother into a pig when she wished on a star? There's magic afoot in this engaging tale, as Louise scrambles to deal with her folly and reunite her family. Bewitched readers will find themselves guessing to the very end.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780689863479
  • Publisher: Aladdin
  • Publication date: 9/1/2003
  • Edition description: First
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 144
  • Sales rank: 498,872
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.60 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Betsy Hearne is the author of several books for children, including Eliza's Dog and Listening for Leroy, which was chosen as a Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young Children. She was formerly the editor of the Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, and she now teaches children's literature and storytelling at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Ms. Hearne lives with her family in Urbana, Illinois.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1: The Star

"I know what you're doing," said Willie.

"No, you don't," said Louise.

"Yes, I do. You're wishing on a star."

"No, I'm not. The sun's just going down — look, it's red as fire."

"Red as a rotten tomato," said Willie. "SPLAT goes the tomato. SQUOOSH, the sky's all mushy." Willie pulled one of his sister's pigtails.

"Stop it, Willie."

"SPLISH, here comes the first star," said Willie. "PLOP, here comes Louise. Oh, please, says Louise, I wish for a kiss." Willie pulled Louise's other pigtail, and she jerked away.

"I do not, Willie, that's disgusting. And you don't even know how to make a wish, anyway."

"Neither do you."

"Yes, I do," said Louise. "Star light, star bright, first star I've seen tonight. I wish I may, I wish I might, have the wish I wish tonight."

Willie's blond hair glowed white in the evening light. He was chewing on a sassafras twig. Willie was a hefty boy, always chewing on something. "Sunsets are boring," he said, "and so are you. I'm going to feed the pigs." He turned his back on her and walked away.

Louise felt a dark rage rising. "You ARE a pig."

Her voice had surprising power, but Willie didn't answer. He had already disappeared in the trees. The wind blew. The leaves whispered. The owl that haunted their hills called whoo.

Louise Tolliver watched the sky. Behind her loomed Old Giant, the mountain that shadowed their little house, barn, and garden. Tollivers' Hollow was said to be a peculiar place, even a perilous place, but it didn't feel peculiar or perilous to her. It felt like home. Between the last pink light and the blue night shone the moon, curving thin and white as the end of a fingernail. A new June moon. And sure enough, below it was the evening star, looking like a diamond ring on somebody's finger. Why not? thought Louise. Star light, star bright, first star I've seen tonight, I wish I may, I wish I might, have the wish I wish tonight.

"Beware of what you've wished for," glittered the star.

"I haven't wished for anything yet," said Louise.

The star was silent.

"Oh, well," said Louise. "Willie's right. It's silly to wish on a star, anyway."

Copyright © 2001 by Betsy Hearne

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Table of Contents

  1. The Star
  2. Missing Willie
  3. Visitors
  4. Suspicions
  5. The New Pig
  6. Fooling Folks
  7. Waiting
  8. Wrong Again
  9. Delilah
  10. More Visitors
  11. A Lullaby
  12. Luke Watkins
  13. Twins
  14. Search and Rescue
  15. Spells
  16. Worries
  17. A Plan
  18. An Invitation
  19. An Answer
  20. A New Circle
  21. Getting Ready
  22. The Party
  23. A New Balance
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First Chapter

Chapter 16: Worries

"Mama! I saw that old owl out in the pine tree — the one we've been hearing all this time. He swooped down on me like I was mouse-meat."

"That's funny. The owls used to do that to your daddy. I think it's kind of a joke."

"Not for the mouse."

"I guess every kind of creature has its own ways," said Mama. "Jack used to tell me that owls knew a lot they weren't saying."

"I wish Willie would try to say things. What if he just turns totally pig, inside as well as outside?"

"Surely we'll figure out something before then."

"We've got to work fast, Mama. The Labor Day picnic is coming up soon, and Tom and Tod both want to barbecue Willie. If we manage to keep him safe past that, school starts and those truant officers will come up here looking for him. They're mostly not as dumb as Tod Watkins, plus they have all these reports to fill out and turn in and then who knows who-all will come sniffing around here looking for Willie. They're getting real strict about school, and Willie never missed any."

"One day at a time, Louise. In hard times you have to take one day at a time — in good times, too, come to think of it."

Delilah trotted into the kitchen, found the bucket empty, and began banging it against the stove.

"Delilah, don't bang the bucket. Say 'milk.' MILK, MILK.'"

Delilah looked at Louise and banged the bucket. Mama put her hands over her ears. "She hears the shoats squealing. You better go milk Molly Cow, Louise, it's late. We have to feed all these creatures."

Louise managed to take the bucket away from Delilah, who followed her out to the barn, lay down in the hay while Louise milked Molly Cow, ambled after her to the pigpen, and trotted around in anxious circles while Mama and Louise fed the shoats. The owl did not dive down again but stayed silent in the trees with his eyes closed. Mama hummed the mockingbird lullaby again.

"You know, Mama, those things in the song are all around us. We don't need anybody to buy them for us. We already have mockingbirds, and a pond we can see ourselves in but won't ever break like a looking glass. I guess Molly Cow is as good as any old dog named Rover, or billy goat, or bull."

"Better — she gives us so much milk."

"And who needs a diamond ring, anyway?" asked Louise.

"Well, sometimes I think it wouldn't hurt to have a little something to sell, just in case."

"As long as we've all got each other, Mama, we don't need any money."

"Well, two of us are kind of missing."

Louise looked over at her brother, lolling in the mud. Willie looked pretty comfortable there, and she barely remembered her father enough to miss him. "I'm just trying to count our blessings, Mama. We've even got eleven little shoats!"

"So true," said Mama.

Whoo, said the owl.

"Howl," said Willie.

"Owl, Willie," said Louise. "Say 'owl,' not 'howl.'"

"Howl," said Willie.

"Hopeless," said Louise. "Anyway, we've got Molly Cow and a Tolliver owl. It just about rhymes."

Whoo, click-click, said the owl.

"Sounds like he's trying to talk to us, Mama."

"All I hear is 'who.' Maybe you can figure it out, Louise. Your daddy could have. You look so much like your daddy right now. His hair used to turn red in the sun like that, and dark at night. His eyes, too, were kind of in between. Hazel eyes. They looked green in the light and brown at night. Between day and night, with the sun going down like it is right now, he just glowed. Like that owl there."

Louise looked up at the owl. Its feathers had a light and dark pattern lit up by a ray from the setting sun. Louise watched the pattern fade as twilight slipped into darkness. Evening was Louise's favorite time of day. But what did evening mean? Did it mean making things even? Evening things out? Getting even? Or just balancing day and night, evening odd things? And did odd mean different, like even and odd numbers, or did odd mean strange, like the Tollivers? How did you even odd things out?

That night she saw the owl in her dreams. It was not saying whoo-whoo but how-how. The owl had its head turned, so she could see only one eye, but the eye was a big circle that spun around. There was a star in the middle and names all around, just like the one Louise had drawn in the dirt. With the circle spinning, sometimes Louise's name was on top, sometimes at the bottom, but the same names stayed across from each other, connected by lines from Louise to Maybelle, Willie to Luke, Delilah to TomTod, Jack to Mama. With the circle spinning and the star pulsing, Louise started to get dizzy. The circle wheeled around and around, she sailed to the top, and she swooped to the bottom. It was hard to hang on, halfway between heaven and Earth, halfway between day and night. Her hands began to sweat and slip a little each time she swooped down. On a last fast turn at the bottom of the circle, Louise's fingertips slipped off. Suddenly she was falling, falling, falling through several sunsets ablaze with red and yellow, falling down toward a mountain of rotten tomatoes.

Copyright © 2001 by Betsy Hearne

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2008

    A very well written book .

    Wishes Kisses And Pigs is a very well written book by Betsy Hearne. This is my first time reading one of her books and I would recommend it to anyone with a few spare moments. It's a confusing but very interesting book. Somebody from 4th grade to really any age would enjoy it. But be aware-it's a sad book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 24, 2005

    Fun and Heart Throbbing!

    I loved this book, it was very well written! I read this book in only one day! In this book, i laughed and i cried!!!! READ it and you will know! ( i read it twice! )

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2005

    Okay...

    This book was not my favorite. I thought it just wasn't written very well and not much time or effort was put into the book; it was a dissappointment to me.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2004

    A magical and fun read.

    Very cute and interesting story about a girl who calls her brother a pig...and he becomes one. But that's not all, as a different pig becomes human and her father suddenly appears after being missing for years. The author does a wonderful job in adding just the right touch of suspense, fantasy, and humor. An enchanting story which should appeal to any young girl age 8-12.

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