Andersen. Oct. 2020. 32p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781728415789.
K-Gr 2–Greed and the importance of minutiae in deal-making loom large in this lyrical picture book written in rhyming couplets that bounce off the tongue. The main character is also the villain. Penny-pinching Pig has cash in his pocket, and a desire to build his dream home on the property he has just purchased in the countryside. Miserly Pig heads to town seeking laborers, and there he meets three other animals and dupes them into building him a mansion for a third of the wages he implies they will receive. Cat, Pup, and Hen build a house for Pig, but Pig is not satisfied, and demands a larger one. After seeing their second iteration, Pig demands an even larger remodel, and the end product is a mansion of epic proportions and features that pleases the materialistic owner. When the three laborers go to collect their wages, Pig cheats them by following the letter of the law and not the spirit, but sweet revenge is on its way. The shock value provided by the last few pages of text and artwork is spot-on. Cotton’s words have a great cadence; this is one to read out loud to groups. Freeman’s colorful illustrations pair well with the rhyming couplets, although the faces of the anthropomorphic animals lack expression.
VERDICT A delightful twist at the end of the story stops just short of morbid, and highlights themes of fairness, hard work, just desserts, and the importance of reading the fine print. Recommended for fiction collections.

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