________________ CM . . . . Volume XI Number 5 . . . . October 29, 2004


Pig in the Middle.

Sally Fitz-Gibbon. Illustrated by Kirsti Anne Wakelin.
Markham, ON: Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2004.
32 pp., cloth, $19.95.
ISBN 1-55041-894-7.

Subject Headings:
Pigs-Fiction-Juvenile literature.
Grandparents-Fiction-Juvenile literature.
Memory-Fiction-Juvenile literature.

Preschool-grade 2 / Ages 4-7.

Review by Harriet Zaidman.

**** /4

Reviewed from f&g's.


We shake the crumbs off the tablecloth.

I read the map again. "If there is any trouble, you can wave the rake. We can tie another balloon here so that we know where we have been." Grandma nods and clips a branch off the maze as a warning that we will not stand for any more nonsense.

Author Sally Fitz-Gibbon has found a way to interpret the confusion of Alzheimer's Disease. Using her own grandmother's illness as a basis, Fitz-Gibbon has written an imaginative story that can also be used as a wonderful picture book or to help children accept the unusual changes they may see in elderly relatives.

internal art     A dancing pig in the garden maze at Grandma's seems to be stealing everything, from the family toaster to peppermints to cake. She calls her granddaughter who arrives in a flight of fantasy. Emily turns a blind eye to the unusual activity in the household and goes along on the search for Grandpa, who has also disappeared. Their journey is unique and full of surprises, but Grandma is sure of herself. They find Grandpa, wake him out of his easy chair and celebrate his birthday.

     Nothing is as it seems in this delightful tale. Fitz-Gibbon's daughter, Kirsti Anne Wakelin, has interpreted the story through dreamy pastel colours that are an extension, not a mirror of the sophisticated text. Unexpected guests of all sorts drop in and drop by. The watercolours are humorous and prompt examination and thought.

     Another book that bridges the generations and can also be used to help children deal with dementia in aging relatives is Wilfred Gordon MacDonald Partridge, by Mem Fox. Children enjoy the sensible way that the boy with the long name helps Miss Nancy Alison Delacourt Cooper find her memories.

     Children will enjoy Pig in the Middle, a story of creative imagining, whatever its source. It would be a welcome addition to a school library or a delightful home purchase.

Highly Recommended.

Harriet Zaidman is a teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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