HOBART by Anita Briggs


by & illustrated by
Age Range: 7 - 9
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Hobart and his porcine siblings face some of the same challenges that pigs in print have faced before. Here, for readers moving into first chapters, Briggs introduces a family of them who scheme to avoid the butcher’s knife. Byron, Wilfred, Violet, and our hero, Hobart, are well-fed, clean, and happy living with Farmer Mills and his wife. That is, they live happily until the gander, the terror of the farmyard, delivers the horrible news to Byron: “You’ll be eaten, you know.” Well, these are pigs with dreams of better things than becoming bacon and pork chops. Byron wants to be a poet, Violet has talent as an acrobat, Wilfred croons lovely tenor solos, and Hobart . . . well, Hobart was hopeful. His hope is what eventually saves his siblings’ talents from fulfilling the gander’s predictions. He hopes to become a tap-dancer. He even has the bottlecaps for his trotters to make that pleasing clicking noise. It’s impossible to read about Hobart and his family developing their talents so that they will be spared the knife, without thinking of Wilbur and Charlotte. The storyline is remarkably similar, though the intended audience is much younger. The whimsical illustrations—Violet is wearing a gingham dress as she practices her backflips and Byron sports a polo shirt—point the story away from philosophical issues to the humorous details of tap-dancing, singing, flipping, and reciting porkers. Some of the word choices (“declaiming,” “sinister,” “despondently,” “conceited,” “diction”) will be challenging for the intended audience and might make this better initially as a read-aloud. Who wouldn’t want to put on a cow voice and read, “Hello there, pork chops.” (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: May 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-689-84129-9
Page count: 64pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 2002


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