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How Big Is a Pig?


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PreS-Gr 1ÄAnother successful concept book from the author of One Moose, Twenty Mice (Barefoot, 1999). The rhyming text explores the meaning of opposites in a series of entertaining farmyard scenes: "Some cows are thin; some cows are fat./But how big is a pig? Can you tell me that?" Other comparisons show the difference between quick and slow, jumpy and still, high and low, clean and dirty, young and old, etc. Each verse contains the refrain, "But how big is a pig," and this animal is partially hidden in all of the double-page spreads. The brightly colored appliqu‚d felt artwork is decorated with braids, beads, and sequins. The pictures have humorous touches, such as the huge stomach of the fat cow, the rickrack ripples of water illustrating the movement of a frog, and the multicolored stitching depicting the dirtiness of some geese. There are also many easily identifiable small and large objects that young children will enjoy pointing out. The last pages deal with the concept of size: "Some pigs are big; some pigs are small-/-but this pig is my mom and she's the/biggest of us all!" The final illustration shows several baby pigs nursing from their much-larger mother.-Anne Parker, Milton Public Library, MA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

For Beaton (Mother Goose Remembers, reviewed above), it really is a material world: she whips up bold, bright tableaux out of meticulously sewn felt (which she uses both as appliqu‚s and background) and embellishes the fuzzy fabric with judicious use of beads and sequins. Here, a smiling pink piggy coaxes the audience through a rhyming series about different kinds of opposites, ending each vignette with the title question. On the first of these full-bleed spreads, the piglet romps through a meadow where two cows, one skinny and one plump, pose with ladybugs: "Some cows are thin; some cows are fat./ But how big is a pig? Can you tell me that?" On a later spread, the pig encounters bees among the flowers: "Some bees fly high; some bees fly low./ But how big is a pig? Tell me if you know!" The answer is revealed in the final spread, when the pig happily reunites with a sow whose girth spills off the pages: "This pig is my mom and she's the biggest of all!" It's a sassy, unexpected wrap-up; Beaton will have her audience's attention all sewn up. Ages 2-6. (Aug.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

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