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THE BOOK OF PIGERICKS by Arnold Lobel Kirkus Star


illustrated by Arnold Lobel

Pub Date: May 1st, 1983
ISBN: 0064431630
Publisher: Harper & Row

Inventing 38 fresh limericks is a feat in itself, with not a dud in the lot and more than a fair share of hilarity; and these are held together by a delightful cast of sumptuously dressed pigs and illustrated with Lobel's special blend of delectable, decorous absurdity. Before you get to the first limerick you'll be captivated by the beautifully outlandish parade of pigs that marches along the contents page. And you'll be won by the first entry, about ". . . an old pig with a pen/ who wrote stories and verse now and then./ To enhance these creations,/ He drew illustrations/ With brushes, some paints and his pen." As pictured, this old pig, who also appears on the cover and in the closing entry ("There was an old pig with a pen/ Who had finished his work once again. . ."), wears the same mustache and eyeglasses seen in the author's photo on the jacket flap. Among his company are a pig who "nightly slumbers with eggs on his head" (for a quick breakfast in bed) and another who wakens to ten gambling mice on his bed. On facing pages are a "warm pig from Key West" and a cold one amusingly bundled in 16 coats that fan out like leaves in an open book. Later, a patched "poor pig on the street" (behind him, a cityscape that is both grubby and pastel pretty) faces a pompous "rich pig from Palm Springs," strutting along smug as you please in a ludicrous belt of rings and bracelets. The pictures can please with the spectacle of ". . . the light pig from Montclair" who, "Dressed in feathers, . . . floated in air"--or tease with the impossible sights of the fast pig's legs leaving him behind or the vague pig's floating roof (he "had lost all his windows and walls"). Or they can simply amuse, with the spouting long neck of the pig from Schenectady or the "oodles/ Of pretzels and noodles" consumed by one sad pig to turn his straight tail curly. (It works.) For Lobel, a silk purse would be child's play.