Children's Literature - Claudia Mills
In this tribute to the power of the pen, an insistent pig on Farmer Joe's disorderly farm launches a one-pig improvement campaign with her series of formal letters of complaint, signed only as "Yours truly, Disgruntled." Instructing Farmer Joe, "The farm is filthy. Please clean it up at once!" or "What about the yard? It is a muddy disgrace. Please do something immediately!" Louisa the pig begins to see all kinds of results from her letters, until the exasperated farmer decides that he can write a letter of his own: "Dear Disgruntled, If you don't like it, you can clean it up yourself." Puttock has created a strong and spirited heroine: a chronic complainer, yes, but one who has spunk enough to try to change the world to suit her exacting tastes. Kiddie's illustrations portray oddly angular barnyard inhabitants in a muted palette (might Louisa have preferred livelier primary colors?). Readers will certainly hope for a sequel in which Louise's indomitable voice will continue to be heard. Reviewer: Claudia Mills, Ph.D.
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Louisa the pig, disgusted by the messiness of the farm, writes a complaining note to Farmer Joe, signing it "Disgruntled." Farmer Joe does do some cleaning up, but Louisa, not impressed, writes again to complain. So Joe tries again, painting the outbuildings. But then Louisa writes about the disgraceful, muddy yard. Joe works hard to roll the yard. Still, "Disgruntled" demands some color. The farmer buys and plants the farmyard with beautiful flowers. Receiving yet another complaint, Joe decides that's enough! When rain messes up the yard again, he writes to Disgruntled saying, "�clean it up yourself." Louisa leaves, searching for somewhere better. But after time in the city, she decides that perhaps there's no place like home. Kiddie creates a stylized world of flat painted cutout characters, landscapes and buildings. The scenes resemble stills from an amusing animated cartoon. Lots of action and details include additional fun from the labels on objects. The seemingly handwritten letters are a visual addition to the fun. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
One wouldn't expect barnyard mud and untidiness to offend a pig, but Louisa is a prissier porker than most, right down to the pink purse she carries. She leaves letter after letter of anonymous complaint to Farmer Joe, who does his best to correct the odious problems-but ultimately leaves the mysterious nitpicker his own exasperated note: "Dear Disgruntled, If you don't like it, you can clean it up yourself." Louisa storms off to the city, but learns that it comes with its own grubby assaults to the senses and ultimately returns all the wiser to the farm, where she finds a bucket, brush, and soap awaiting her. The barnyard setting and residents are depicted in stylized cartoonlike illustrations interspersed with photographic images and replete with amusing details such as animals stomping about in mud boots. The cumulative build-up of this tale, combined with the childlike, flattened quality of the comical artwork, makes this an appealing choice.-Kathleen Finn, Winooski Memorial Library, VT
Louisa the pig, unhappy with the conditions on the farm, sends a series of anonymous letters to Farmer Joe requesting improvements. Her increasingly imperious missives demand that he tidy things up and make them more attractive as well. Despite the farmer's earnest efforts, Louisa remains "disgruntled" and sets off for a better life in the big city. Like the country mouse, Louisa finds that she misses life on the farm and she sends another letter, signed this time, with a more polite message announcing her imminent return to farm life. Kiddie's cartoon-style illustrations in a moody palette of subdued hues are enhanced by a flattened perspective that gives the farmer the appearance of a friendly rag doll. Louisa's letters are reproduced in a collage style, with printed scrawl on notepaper, inkblots and dots and added elements such as a spoon, a pencil and a taped-on daisy. While the story hasn't the verve of Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type, its embedded letters could easily scaffold on lessons in early-elementary classrooms. (Picture book. 5-8)