CM . . .
. Volume XXI Number 27. . . .March 20, 2015
Dogs can be as competitive as humans when it comes to protecting what they own. Watching an alpha dog muscle another pooch out of its way to be first at the food bowl or hoard toys under the couch can be quite funny (and instructive) to watch.
Thatís the scenario prolific Australian writer (and former actor) Aaron Blabey describes and illustrates in one of his latest picture books, Pig the Pug. Pig is completely selfish and grumpy in contrast to his tailwagging, good-natured sausage dog companion, Trevor. Pig gets his comeuppance, though, when he piles his treasures so high that he falls out a window. He doesnít learn a lesson, but he canít avoid sharing with Trevor anymore Ė at least not before his body cast is removed.
Blabey is an accomplished illustrator; Pig looks like a manic hoarder, Trevor is angelic, the toys look sweet and innocent. The premise is humourous, and the wry commentary about how some dogs (and people) never learn will bring a wide smile to a childís face. The story, however, could benefit from greater depth and longer length. Children would enjoy hearing about some of Trevorís futile efforts to get Pig to play and share, or perhaps the ownersí failed logic in giving Pig a companion.
As such, Pig the Pug, which is the first book in a planned series, is suitable as an early reader and as a read-aloud to the youngest children of the target age group. But it could have a longer-lasting impact on a childís formative years if the story were more complicated and Pig a more complex character.
Harriet Zaidman is a teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB.
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