Kirkus Reviews QR Code
WALTUR BUYS A PIG IN A POKE by Barbara Gregorich


and Other Stories

by Barbara Gregorich & illustrated by Kristin Sorra

Age Range: 7 - 8

Pub Date: July 24th, 2006
ISBN: 0-618-47306-8
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Cohabitants Waltur (a bear) and Matilda (a beaver) explore figures of speech in three episodes for emergent readers. Persistently taking little Matilda’s cautionary aphorisms literally, Waltur searches the market for a new pet, refusing to buy several pigs in pokes (bags), but naïvely bringing one home (with disastrous results) because it’s in a box. He then proceeds to prove out the truth of an old fable by assuming that a clutch of eggs will hatch out as chickens and finally he makes a deliberate effort to prove Matilda wrong by leading a horse to water and trying to force it to drink. Sorra illustrates with simply drawn scenes featuring a big bear, a small beaver and the occasional supporting character in comfy country dress. Each episode ends well, despite mishaps, and in the third, Waltur, discovering that persuasion works better than force, demonstrates that he’s not such a dim bulb after all. Gregorich both shows and explains what each saying means, and supplies glimpses of their history at the end to boot. An amusing way to introduce the idea of metaphor—or wordplay in general. (Easy reader. 7-8)