Sunday, February 8, 2004

Pig Enough

Bynum, Janie. 2003. PIG ENOUGH. New York: Harcourt. ISBN 0152165827
[Suggested Ages 3-7]

Willy, the engaging little guinea pig, is having difficulty finding his niche. He wants to play the trumpet but he is “completely tone deaf.” He wants to be in a play, but he is unable to memorize his lines. One day Willy is overwhelmed with excitement and anticipation when he sees a sign that says, “Be all a pig can be! Join Pig Scouts!” That is until the “real pigs” begin to snicker and become mean spirited toward him, especially a pig called Peyton who leads the others in chanting, “Willy, Willy, don’t be silly! You’ll never be a pig!” Every time they join in chanting, Willy returns with “B-b-but, I’m a guinea pig…and I’m pig enough!” Shortly after joining the Pig Scouts, Willy and Peyton are paired for maneuvers and soon Willy is using his ability to see in the dark to rescue a frightened Peyton from a deep and dark hole. By the end of the tale, the Pig Scouts are chanting the sweetest words, “Willy, Willy, not-so-silly, you’re really pig enough!”

This playful, energetic, and chatty story with remarkably expressive watercolors will convey a comical, yet gentle message about the frustrations of being a guinea pig in a pig’s world and eventually finding acceptance. Bold illustrations capture the strong personality of Willy and the building anticipation of this clever, yet boisterous frolic. In spite of the pat ending of the underdog saving the day, Bynum splendidly garners compassion for this pleasing little rodent.

Children could discuss experiences when they felt different and unaccepted. They could discuss what it feels like to be the “underdog” in some given setting. They could talk about the differences in rodents and pigs and their similarities (e.g., both pig and guinea pig males are called boars and females are called sows). After creating the appropriate tail, children can play a game called “Pin the tail on the rodent or the pig.”

Other books that deal with respecting and accepting others who might be different:
Goble, Paul. BUFFALO WOMAN. ISBN 0027377202
Henkes, Kevin. CHRYSANTHEMUM. ISBN 0688147321
Smith, Dick-King. I LOVE GUINEA PIGS. ISBN 0786811358

By Rita Pickett

No comments: