Kirkus Reviews QR Code
LADY MUCK by William Mayne


by William Mayne & illustrated by Jonathan Heale

Age Range: 5 - 9

Pub Date: March 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-395-75281-7
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

 From Mayne (Pandora, 1996, etc.), the arch tale of two pigs in search of swine ambrosia--truffles. When Boark roots up a rich hoard of truffles, his mate Sowk hones in quickly on his treasure. Instead of gobbling them up immediately, the pigs put off gustatory pleasures and decide to take the mushrooms to market, and buy a coach with their earnings. On the road Sowk feels sympathy for the ``babbiest'' mushroom, and gobbles it down. Soon other truffles join the first in her belly, rather than pine away with loneliness for their relative. By the time Boark takes notice, only one big truffle remains. He assumes it (not Sowk) ate the others, so they sell it, to buy not a carriage, but a wheelbarrow. Sowk gets her ride home, and when the wheelbarrow breaks, she's perfectly happy to land in the mud. Boark never learns the truth, and croons, ``You are my Sowky, Sowk, Sowk, and all lovely with muddy, my true Lady Muck,'' as the story comes to a close. The illustrations mix softly colored scenes with robust and funny woodcuts that show the indulgent pigs' antics. But the heavily sentimental language (`` `Don't it please my Sowk, my Sowky dear, to eat a truffly from her hubby? Just one truffly?' `It please her dreadful,' said Sowk. `It please her from silk ear to scratch back' ''), though inventive, will turn off readers who have no sweet tooth for dialect. (Picture book. 5-9)