Meet Gracie LaRoo, a sweet swine who loves to swim.
In the first of this collection of four pig tales, young Gracie suffers performance anxiety at the Pig Jubilee, a synchronized-swimming contest. She doesn’t want to let her slightly older teammates down, but this is her first competition. When her purple spangly bag (with all her swimming gear) goes missing, Gracie is even more distracted. She perseveres (finding the bag) and gains the confidence to help her team win. Next, thanks to her swimming skills, she’s asked to be in a Hog Heaven Studios picture with famed actress Tilda Swinetune. Gracie is anxious again, but her creativity solves a problem on the set, and movie magic ensues. Later, Gracie and her troupe run into problems performing on a cruise ship, and then she returns to her alma trotter to speak to the piglets about her success. Qualey’s easily read, short tales for those just attempting chapters will satisfy, though more-mature readers may find that the facile solutions to problems don’t hold their interest. The stories exude girl power, however, since the tales are full of confident female…pigs. Litten’s colored-pencil illustrations grace nearly every page and match the text in tone and energy.
This piggie will find her followers among the graduates of Peppa Pig and the like. (Fantasy. 5-8)