Pass on this porky paean to friendship; stick with Piggie with a side of Elephant


Into the crowded field of porcine protagonists comes Piggy, a friendless pig who loves to read.

Piggy has been too busy reading all his life to make real friends. When he’s down to his last book, he decides to save it. Then he grabs the first toy he comes upon—a kite—and heads out to fly it. He crashes his kite, but he sees a cat sitting on a swing, nose in a book. He decides to make her his friend. First he tries to get her attention with giant soap bubbles and gets literally carried away in a bubble. Then he tries flying his airplane overhead, trailing a friendly banner; she doesn’t notice. However inventive he gets, the cat continues to read. Then Piggy gets an idea: friends in his books share what they love with each other. He gives the cat, Kate, his last book. She’s overjoyed to get it, but she needs glasses like Piggy’s to read it—happily, he’s got a pair. (At this point readers will wonder how she was reading the book that so fascinated her in the preceding pages.) Entrepreneur and digital artist Lai’s traditional publishing debut has great intentions but not a lot of personality. Piggy trots well-tread ground in the digitally finished watercolor-and-pencil illustrations, which are bright but spare and uninteresting. Rather than a developed character, he resembles an emoji given a bland and illogical tale to inhabit.

Pass on this porky paean to friendship; stick with Piggie with a side of Elephant . (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 20, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-68119-065-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Hee haw.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 19

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • IndieBound Bestseller


The print version of a knee-slapping cumulative ditty.

In the song, Smith meets a donkey on the road. It is three-legged, and so a “wonky donkey” that, on further examination, has but one eye and so is a “winky wonky donkey” with a taste for country music and therefore a “honky-tonky winky wonky donkey,” and so on to a final characterization as a “spunky hanky-panky cranky stinky-dinky lanky honky-tonky winky wonky donkey.” A free musical recording (of this version, anyway—the author’s website hints at an adults-only version of the song) is available from the publisher and elsewhere online. Even though the book has no included soundtrack, the sly, high-spirited, eye patch–sporting donkey that grins, winks, farts, and clumps its way through the song on a prosthetic metal hoof in Cowley’s informal watercolors supplies comical visual flourishes for the silly wordplay. Look for ready guffaws from young audiences, whether read or sung, though those attuned to disability stereotypes may find themselves wincing instead or as well.

Hee haw. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-545-26124-1

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 29, 2018

Did you like this book?

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.


Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

Did you like this book?