In this pointed outing, a pig who habitually insults everyone he meets has an epiphany after no one comes to his party. Readers after social or psychological complexity need not apply.
The plot is as simple as it is simplistic of resolution. Having left, as usual, a trail of enraged passersby—“Dreadful hair today, Mrs. Harley!” “Without your annoying husband, Mrs. Block?” “Joseph! Your bad smell never ceases to amaze me!”—on his daily walk, Bertie changes his tune when he meets Ruby, “the cutest rabbit he had ever seen.” Having complimented her ears, he rushes home to plan an elaborate party for her. Devastated when no one responds to his snotty invitations, he goes to bed, dreams of being berated for rudeness by his toothbrush, and remorsefully sends out revised invitations with apologies when he wakes. Mrs. Harley doesn’t come (she “still held a grudge”), but everyone else does, and it’s all a great success. Using a pale but high-contrast palette and surface textures of crayons and thickly brushed watercolors, Boldt fashions busy pastel backdrops for a pink pig with a big red nose. He struts past the all-animal cast to, eventually, a sumptuous party scene centered on pig and bunny making goo-goo eyes as they dance together.
At best a discussion starter about rudeness, though children may be mildly amused by Bertie’s snide disses. (Picture book. 6-8)