CM . . . . Volume XXIII Number 33 . . . . May 5, 2017
The famous emoji, Piggy, comes from the creative mind of BC-raised Trevor Lai. In the character's picture book debut, Piggy wears distinctively large red glasses and is an insatiable bookworm. He spends all of his time reading stories about friendship, but he suddenly finds himself yearning for a real life friend. Luckily, Piggy stumbles across the perfect candidate: a little cat named Kate who is busy reading under a tree. Piggy tries all sorts of elaborate techniques to grab Kate's attention, including flying a friendship banner behind a plane. Nothing seems to work until Piggy takes his efforts down a notch and simply shares a book with Kate. Piggy's gentle generosity works, and the two animals become fast friends.
Piggy will delight Trevor Lai fans and those who enjoy other content and merchandise produced by his successful company, UP Studios. Lai's mixed media illustrations are bright and bold, if somewhat one dimensional. They evoke a colourful world where emojis have sprung to life. Children will particularly enjoy Piggy's rambunctious escapades in a plane that are reminiscent of an engaging and action packed cartoon. The narrative champions the importance of bravely stepping out of your comfort zone, and reaching out to others with kindness in order to make friends. While the book's overarching message is a positive one, certain aspects of the text are underdeveloped and confusing. In particular, audiences young and old will be utterly nonplussed when Kate, who has been voraciously reading without glasses, suddenly can't "see the words in Piggy's book clearly" and requires "special" glasses to read.
Recommended with Reservations.
Chloe Humphreys is a newly minted librarian with a passion for children's literature and reading. She works at Vancouver Public Library and North Vancouver District Public Library, and lives in beautiful North Vancouver, BC.
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