“Mile by mile, pigs motor west/ Brick by brick, pigs build a house,/ and piece by piece, it becomes a home.” In a porcine version of a 1930s-era migration, a family of pigs in period clothing arrives in a rural community and settles in. Writing in rhythmic free verse that recalls the “inch by inch, row by row” children’s song, Gal (Into the Outdoors) creates gaily colored spreads using digital collage, then fills them with friendly, hard-working pigs. The pigs harvest their first crop, then celebrate in a distinctly piggy way: in the book’s best moment, plump, rosy pigs strip down to lacy underthings and tighty-whities and race to the gigantic mudhole (“Layer by layer, pigs shed their clothes... and one by one, pigs cannonball!”). A spread shows the whole clan floating and snorkeling; in a sly A.A. Milne reference, a small pig clutches a toy Piglet (other literary pig references are tucked into the story for eagle-eyed readers). Comforting and conflict-free, the book’s sense of predictability makes it promising bedtime material. Ages 5–9. Agent: Morgan Gaynin Inc. (July)
Kirkus Reviews Best of Children's Books 2012
Kirkus Reviews, June 1, 2012: “Day by day, brick by brick, a community is built in this winning tribute to fellowship and family…. A luminous celebration of family, food and home.”
Day by day, brick by brick, a community is built in this winning tribute to fellowship and family. Across a golden prairie, a family of pigs heads west. Their small actions grow in significance as bricks become a house, beloved paraphernalia create a home, neighbors are welcomed and friendships begin. With each handsome spread, the author rephrases the proverb she was inspired by: "little by little, the bird builds its nest." Words flow on a curvature that matches the lyrical nature of both text and artwork. Sophisticated, digital illustrations done in a pastel color palette dazzle the senses, allowing readers to feel the vastness of sky, the heat of summer; to smell the scent of flowers and fields; and to hear the slow dance-floor melody as they safely drift to sleep. Gal skillfully employs the computer to create a handmade, collage aesthetic. Through her application of textures, she creates a world that's rich in pattern, color and, most of all, love. As pigs gather around a table, under a festive tree at twilight to enjoy the bounty they have grown, they give thanks. A luminous celebration of family, food and home.
(Picture book. 4-9)
"Mile by mile, pigs motor west." Their van, complete with attached trailer and license MOVNWST, is overloaded with their possessions. "Brick by brick, pigs build a house...and piece by piece, it becomes a home." The entire well-dressed pig family pitches in to complete the home, to which pig neighbors come to welcome them. In the same rhythmic patterned text, they plant a garden. "Day by day, the seasons turn." They gather the harvest, then shed their clothes, and gaily cannonball into the mud. Then it's time to give thanks, "hand in hand," dance "cheek to cheek," head for home, say good night, and "dream sweet dreams night after night." The jolly tale begins on the front end pages, exploiting all the following pages to describe in detail the fun-loving and energetic porcine family as they attend to their various tasks. The double-page scenes, filled with lively activities, are produced with mixed media that use a variety of sprightly patterned bits of cloth to dress the pigs. By the end, the reader shares the fatigue and is ready to find rest in the darkness of the moonlit landscape on the back end pages. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
PreS-Gr 2—A pig family is heading west to start a new life. They find a sweet spot, build a home, and settle into a warm, supportive community. They all work together to plant and tend a garden and gather to celebrate the harvest. Bright mixed-media illustrations are loaded with textures and humorous details; they show the pigs being welcomed by their neighbors and capture the essence of friendship. This is a cozy, homey, story that would be enjoyed by young children as a read-aloud, or would be a good confidence-builder for beginning readers.—Alison Donnelly, Collinsville Memorial Public Library, IL