Pigs are happiest living on a farm. Just ask Wilbur.
Life for white middle-schooler Josie is a definite mix of highs and lows. She loves being on a gymnastics team but worries that she has grown too tall and that her cash-strapped parents will not be able to pay her fees. Then Thanksgiving Day brings a wonderful present. Her college-student brother brings home a runt piglet named Hamlet, and it is love at first sight. But can a pig be part of a big family in a small town house in an (unnamed) Ohio city? Hamlet is an endearing pet but grows very fast, and Josie has until New Year’s to find Hamlet a better home. Making the deadline even more serious is a city ordinance banning farm animals. With help from friends, an ornery but lonely old neighbor, and a sympathetic vet, Josie navigates her quandary. A gymnastics competition, an old family tradition of picking out a Christmas tree, and a new family event called Handmade Christmas fill her days. Not surprisingly, her favorite book is Charlotte’s Web, and there are many references to it. Unfortunately, those references consistently beg comparisons to the classic. Kendall focuses on family and friends as Josie narrates her story with drama and a tendency toward italicized narrative interjections.
A beloved classic is reworked but lacks charm and heart-tugging strings. (Fiction. 9-12)