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OLD PIG by Margaret Wild


by Margaret Wild & illustrated by Ron Brooks

Age Range: 3 - 7

Pub Date: May 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-8037-1917-5
Publisher: Dial

 Old Pig and Granddaughter have lived together for a long time, but comes the day when Old Pig senses she will soon die. She drops a telling hint--``I have a lot to do today. I must be prepared''- -that Granddaughter is quick to pick up. Old Pig tends to her affairs (paying her bills, closing her bank account) and then goes on a long, slow ramble with Granddaughter around their village, savoring the place. ``Do you see how the clouds gather like gossips in the sky?'' and ``Can you smell the warm earth?'' she asks Granddaughter. When Old Pig goes to bed that night, Granddaughter climbs in, too (``Do you remember when I was little and had a bad dream, you used to come into my bed and hold me tight?'' she asks), to hold Old Pig one last time. Wild (Going Home, 1994, etc.) and Brooks, by providing a poignant but sidelong look at death--about as far from the didactic tomes as one can get--make some of the symbolism a little oblique for the usual picture book audience: Old Pig's soul takes wing as a white dove during the night. If death's sting is muted, the ache is real, deepened by Old Pig's life, clearly well lived, attentive, loving. (Picture book. 3-7)