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Review of Little Pig Saves the Ship

Little Pig Saves the Ship
by David Hyde Costello; illus. by the author
Preschool, Primary    Charlesbridge    32 pp.
5/17    978-1-58089-715-0    $14.99
e-book ed.  978-1-60734 929-7    $9.99

Little Pig from Little Pig Joins the Band (rev. 9/11) is back, once again left behind by his older siblings. This time they are going to sailing camp without him; all Little Pig can do is stay home and practice his knot-tying skills. But then his grandfathers, Grandpa and Poppy, bring him a toy boat Poppy has carved for him, which keeps him entertained all week. Until Saturday, that is, when a gust of wind sends the little boat over a waterfall and downstream, where it will soon be lost forever. Fortunately, Little Pig’s practicing comes in handy as he pulls out his rope from his pocket, ties a bowline knot, and at the last possible moment scoops the boat up. This triumph eases the sting of his siblings’ return from sailing camp, as does the next adventure — a day spent sailing his beautiful toy boat with the whole Pig family. Friendly watercolors capture the hustle-and-bustle of a large family, Little Pig’s initial loneliness, and summer days spent knee-deep in a (beautifully evoked) pooled-up stream, messing about with boats. A profusion of speech bubbles adds drama, immediacy, and humor (an older sister hands Little Pig a postcard upon her return and says, “By the way, I meant to mail you this”). The intergenerational friendship between Poppy and Little Pig is heartwarming, and the open-to-interpretation presentation of the grandfathers in the illustrations (it’s implied that Grandpa and Poppy are a couple, but not overtly stated) is just right.

From the July/August 2017 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Martha V. Parravano About Martha V. Parravano

Martha V. Parravano is book review editor of The Horn Book, Inc., and co-author of the Calling Caldecott blog.

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