Review Blog

Dec 01 2014

This Little Piggy Went Singing by Margaret Wild

cover image

Ill. by Deborah Niland. Allen & Unwin, 2014. ISBN 9781743319123
(Age: Preschool - K)
'This little piggy went singing
This little piggy stayed home
This little piggy had noodles
This little piggy had none
And this little piggy went toot, toot, toot all the way home.'

In a whimsical twist on the traditional rhyme Margaret Wild and Deborah Niland have combined to bring us this charming book to herald in the festive season for 2014. Whether it is out singing Christmas carols, posting a letter to Santa, and partying it up or staying home reading a Christmas story, making decorations and putting them up, each little piggy has a wonderful time in the days before the BIG day, even the one who has none because it's been made into a necklace by a mouse or shared with a feathered friend. And they all come together for something special on the very last page.
But this is more than just a take on a tale - each piggy has a different role on each page and so young readers can pick a favourite and follow their adventures all the way through the story. There is also a trend of activity throughout - the first little piggy is always out of the house doing something Christmasy the second stays at home doing something special the third piggy has something to eat and the fourth does not - but it doesn't matter because there's a delightful explanation as to why not. And the fifth little piggy makes a cacophony of noises all the way home that young ones will love to join in with. Picking the pattern is as much fun as picking the piggy! Can you work out how Deborah Niland might have mapped out her illustrations so each piggy did something different each day?
It's also an opportunity to talk with the children about the traditions they recognise and which have endured over time as well as what happens in their house in those busy days and compare and contrast the various activities. While the original rhyme has been in English folklore since 1760, Margaret and Deborah have brought it right into the 21st century, giving it a richness that will ensure it continues to endure.
This is a delightful way to herald in the Christmas Countdown - 24 books, one a day till THE day - and I can't wait to share it with my little ones. It's sparkly, glittery cover already caught their eye as it waited its turn in the pile so I know it will be the first in our countdown calendar.
Barbara Braxton

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