Elements of mystery and legend enliven Martin's (Snowflake Bentley) gracefully told tale about a family's unusual knack for finding precious things, including sources of water. Though no one is sure how the process works, Isabel's grandfather uses a divining rod to locate the best places to dig for water. He has met with great success on water-finding missions, often accompanied by his best friend-a porcine pet called the Pig of the Pig That Went Around Cape Horn, a descendant of the pig that sailed with Grandfather in his long-ago seafaring days. But when the Pig of the Pig goes missing, Isabel discovers she and her Grandfather have something special in common. Martin elegantly unfurls a story filled with memorable characters and colorful details, as well as comforting images of loyalty and familial ties. Wingerter's (One Riddle, One Answer) lushly textured acrylic paintings set an almost timeless mood, striking a balance between folk art and nods to some of the American masters. Swirling brushstrokes create a textured hayfield that recalls Andrew Wyeth's Christina's World, and an image of apple trees stretching to the horizon may put readers in mind of Johnny Appleseed's contributions to Americana. This little piggy will likely be a storytime favorite. Ages 4-8. (Apr.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Isabel loves dowsing with her old seafaring grandfather and his pig (of the pig who went around Cape Horn). But when a fall prevents the old man from practicing his craft, he sinks into depression. An act of bravery by Isabel and a rescue of the lost pig bring him back. It is the language that I love and the message of love, grandmother's "determination hat," which all librarians need. I could go on. This is a beautiful book with acrylic painting in soft tones with scratchy marks, just right for this "remembered" story of independent New Englanders. 2003, Houghton Mifflin, Ages 5 to 8.
Susan Hepler, Ph.D.
Gr 2-4-Grandfather left the sea when he married, but even now he's a water man at heart. His shy granddaughter, Isabel, loves his tales. She loves fishing with him and going dowsing, too, to find underground water. But most of all, she loves the Pig of the Pig, the last pig of the last litter of the pig that sailed with Grandfather around Cape Horn. When he becomes discouraged after several unsuccessful attempts at finding water and the Pig disappears, the child discovers within herself a courage and a gift she never knew she had. The lengthy story is wonderfully paced and offers some delightful moments, as when the young narrator uses a rock as a pretend ship and sails out to sea, heedless of the "wind that cuts like scissors and saw blades," or when she tells readers about a grouchy neighbor, who, Grandfather says, "-wouldn't give away the good smell from a piece of warm toast." The large acrylic paintings, some of which are spreads, are framed in white, and Wingerter's brush strokes achieve a texture that is perfectly suited to rendering wind and sea and tall farm grasses. The artist's depiction of the grandmother, granddaughter, and the Pig, all sitting before the stove listening to Grandfather's yarns, speaks to the warmth and contentment they share. A fine addition to any collection.-Marianne Saccardi, Norwalk Community College, CT Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
This poignant story of the magical gift a girl shares with her grandfather is a gem. Isabel’s grandfather had a pig that was just like family to him, and the last of its litter, "The Pig of the Pig," is shy Isabel’s best buddy. They accompany Grandfather "when he works the water gift," following a Y-shaped branch to find water in even the driest of fields; Grandfather says it’s "the whole earth talking." When Isabel’s pig goes missing, she rallies her own surprising courage, and, with Grandfather, uses the gift to find her precious friend. Martin’s magnificent prose will draw the audience in, and keep them there. The narration is at once the dreamy voice of a child and the detailed, imagery-laden voice of a master storyteller. Wingerter’s acrylic illustrations are swathed in soothing, subdued blues, greens, and tans--the tranquil tones follow the story’s gently sloping mood. The swirling texture of the images makes the sensations of the New England scenes nearly tangible. (author’s note) (Picture book. 5-8)
“This poignant story of the magical gift a girl shares with her grandfather is a gem.” Kirkus Reviews, Starred
“As story of family, as story of bad luck surmounted, as a quietly effecting pig tale and more, this is a nuanced and satisfying production.” The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, Starred
“Wingerter’s brush strokes achieve a texture that is perfectly suited to rendering wind and sea an tall farm grasses…A fine addition to any collection.” School Library Journal, Starred
“It’s a gentle, poignant story graced with legend and mystery, and Martin’s elegant prose is beautifully complemented by Wingerter’s soothing richly textured acrylic paintings.” Booklist, ALA
“This little piece of real–life magic is quite at home in Martin’s magical text, rich with images and slow cadence of yesteryear. Wingerter matches the nostalgic feel with her acrylics in an antique pallete.” Horn Book
“Elements of mystery and legend enliven Martin’s gracefully told tale about a family’s unusual knack for finding precious things, including sources of water. This little piggy will likely be a story time favorite.” Publishers Weekly