A Normal Pig

Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins/. Jun. 2019. 40p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062748577.
PreS-Gr 1–What’s normal to one pig isn’t normal to all. That’s what Pip learns when a new classmate meanly points out her differences. These exchanges end up bothering her quite a bit, because it shakes up her innocent understanding of the world. Noticing behavioral changes in her daughter, the little pig’s mom decides that it’s time for a lesson. Pip’s view, which was based in a fairly homogeneous community, suddenly expands. In the city, there are pigs speaking various languages, pigs of all shapes and colors, and pigs doing many jobs. The trip raises the spotted porker’s self-esteem so much, that she is able to defend her choices from then on. With animal designs, ink line art, and watercolors similar to Betsy Lewin’s (illustrator of Click, Clack, Moo...), Steele’s illustrations also have a mirthful charm. Her style is quite versatile too; when dealing with the heavier subject matter, she clearly expresses the character’s complicated feelings through the art, in conjunction with the candid text. Most children will easily connect with Pip’s situation, and all would benefit by learning from her example.
VERDICT For those that are just getting exposed to the wider world, whether in school or elsewhere, Steele’s impressive authorial debut has a valuable message about individuality and acceptance

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