Kirkus Reviews QR Code
PORKY AND BESS by Ellen Weiss


by Ellen Weiss and Mel Friedman & illustrated by Marsha Winborn

Age Range: 6 - 8

Pub Date: Feb. 23rd, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-375-85458-3
Publisher: Random House

The title reference to Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess has no bearing upon the content of this story, making it seem like a gimmick rather than a thoughtful choice. Characters are not African Americans, but anthropomorphic animals: Porky, a sloppy pig, and Bess, a fastidious mother cat. Throughout five short chapters, the odd-couple friends at turns enjoy one another’s company and struggle to see past their differences. Winborn’s watercolor illustrations enhance the story (of particular note is the humorous clothing she creates for Porky) and provide visual cues for readers as they follow Porky’s efforts to bake a cake (aided by Bess) and to write a poem in tribute to their friendship. Readers will likely arrive at the concluding rhyme Porky struggles to create well before he does: “And when the day is at an end, / I like that Bess is my best friend.” The brief chapters are broken into short paragraphs, and although this isn’t a particularly exciting read, this structure and the story’s resolution will be satisfying for new readers. (Early reader. 6-8)