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A fanciful conception of cooperation between a pig and a snake, presented in a low key in the manner of the animal life-cycle narrative. It starts with a pregnant pig running away from the farmer, whose talk of the bacon to come frightens her though she doesn't understand the words. When she encounters the snake, apparently a rattler, neither animal knows what it's looking at. But the pig, needing direction, begins to follow the snake; the snake doesn't mind; and soon it is stopping every now and then to wait for her to catch up. When the piglets are born they seem, to the snake, ""small enough to eat""; but their mother guards them, and they are not so small when the farmer and his dog find the mother pig and take her home. Then comes the fancy: Every night the snake guides the young pigs to their mother to nurse, and every morning before dawn he herds them out of the pen and into the woods, safe from the farmer. Finally the young pigs no longer need their mother, and after the last trip they inadvertently return the tired snake's favor by helping him out of his old skin. The drawings maintain the low key with some style and a dash of lyric feeling--just what Jiler seems to be aiming for. However, the story is arbitrary as fiction and as a portrait in nature, and lacking in any engaging qualities.

Pub Date: Sept. 20th, 1982
Publisher: Greenwillow