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BEING A PIG IS NICE by Sally Lloyd-Jones


A Child’s-Eye View of Manners

by Sally Lloyd-Jones and illustrated by Dan Krall

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: May 12th, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-375-84187-3
Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

This patterned romp joins a genre-ette that utilizes a sort of “perverse psychology” to engage preschoolers. A girl narrator leaves home, eyes a-roll, opining against parents’ insistence on ceaselessly good manners. She wonders, “What if I were a pig?” After all, it’s “Very Rude” for a pig to be clean. “You have to get muddy or you get in trouble.” Lloyd-Jones pounces on preschoolers’ delight in twin, newfound skills: identifying opposites and spotting zany absurdity. Our lass imagines successive animals castigated for what passes as exemplary behavior in human kids. A snail would be as rude going fast as a monkey eating with knife and fork. Ex-Nick denizen Krall Photoshops saucer-eyed creatures, exuberant whether violating or complying with their true natures. His no-limits palette mixes slime-green, a tomato-fuchsia hybrid, sulphur-yellow, peacock blue and more. Embodying the trendy penchant for the willfully amoral ending, the climactic spreads feature the girl, now costumed, emulating a “perfectly terrible” (though quite innocuous) monster. In character, she arrives home for dinner without her manners—“(Because it’s only polite.)” Slight yet entertaining. (Picture book. 4-8)