A fable for our times….
Hardworking Mr. Pig loves his garden. He tends his flowers each evening—or at least that’s his intention. His neighbor, Little Tortoise, interrupts his purposeful solitude with ceaseless chatter and exhortations to play. From offering unsolicited help (Little Tortoise pulls up a potted plant by its roots) to hitching a ride on some 2-by-4s that Mr. Pig has thrown across his shoulder, the diminutive reptile is a clueless nuisance. The porcine gardener reaches his limit and proceeds to build a brick wall of epic proportions. To the pig’s chagrin, the wall is more effective than he imagined. It keeps everything out—including sunlight. The lovely garden withers, and the pig becomes despondent. With the help of some helium-filled balloons and a sunflower, the tortoise inadvertently takes Mr. Pig soaring above a world free of walls and fences, demonstrating that a diversity of elements is needed in order to thrive. Hernandez’s bright illustrations complement the text, from the naïve tortoise’s toothy grin to the irritated pig’s perpetual grimace. The allegorical reference to the immigration policies of the United States falls flat, however, because Little Tortoise, while unfortunately conforming to many negative Latinx stereotypes, owns her own property and is not trying to move in with Mr. Pig, the embodiment of the Protestant work ethic.
A testament to the folly of using extreme measures that is itself flawed. (Picture book. 4-8)