A purported editing error—substituting the letter “p” for “f” on a critical word throughout—transforms a tribute to figs into an appreciation of—pigs!
Initiating the high jinks, a mock “Message from the Publisher” conveys the error to readers (while griping about the author’s overreaching insistence on the disclaimer). Handwritten notes appear throughout, with the editor’s instructions and the author’s irritated, red-penciled responses. Palatini provides historical details about the fig in Greece, Egypt and Europe, information about certain named cultivars and a gushy author’s note, with recipes. Meanwhile, Groenink playfully sides with the editor, producing digital, gouache and pencil pictures teeming with pigs. “Some pigs are very popular and quite famous, such as Blanche, Celeste, Len and Tena. Of course, everyone knows Judy.” Groenink depicts these bona fide fig cultivars as porcine celebrities adorning the covers of Pigs Weekly and Porque. His “Judy” looks quite like Judy Garland, in black fedora and tuxedo jacket à la Summer Stock. The author’s escalating outrage at her narrative’s hijacking manifests in angry cross-outs and mock-vindictive, defacing cartoons. There’s no question the joke is well-executed, and it’s very funny for an audience that knows something about figs, but it will probably seem like more of the metaliterary same for most actual children.
Joining the growing colony of self-referential meta–kid lit, this one-joke treatment has its moments. And the recipes work—for figs. (Picture book. 4-8)