Dick King-Smith; Jill Barton (Illustrator)
Not your usual princess story, this one's not a fairy tale, but the story of how Princess Penelope, spoiled rotten by her royal parents, learns to control herself for the sake of one lovely and intelligent pig. For her eighth birthday, the Princess knows JUST what she wants: "I WANNA PIG, I WANNA PIG, I WANNA PIG!" she bellows to her father, the king. "All right my sweet," he tells her (though sweet does not quite cover her headstrong, self-centered, belligerent and, well, obnoxious personality). "Daddy will buy you a pig." He issues a Royal Proclamation that commands every pig keeper in the kingdom to bring one pig to the palace on Princess Penelope's eighth birthday. She hates them all until she gets to the very last pig, a long skinny creature named Lollipop, who may look dubious, but that pig can SIT and STAND and even ROLL OVER on command. The trainer and keeper of the talented pig is an amiable boy named Johnny Skinner. Johnny is allowed to come to the palace to care for Lollipop. In the process, Johnny and Lollipop teach the headstrong, self-centered, sulking, shouting, selfish princess to behave herself, a lesson that might carry over to your own brood.
Dick King-Smith, having been a pig farmer for years, and author of Babe, the Gallant Pig (which was the basis for the movie, "Babe") and dozens of beloved animal fantasy books for children, offers a mostly realistic animal story that will charm the sulks out of your children, both royal and common.
Themes : BEHAVIOR. KINGS AND RULERS. PRINCES AND PRINCESSES.
CRITICS HAVE SAID
- The king’s befuddled face and Penelope’s stormy looks are delightful. Lollipop is shown with a sweetly confident expression as she goes about her pig activities, including happily depositing a bit of fertilizer on the queen’s roses…An appealing read-aloud for younger children and a satisfying chapter book for those a little older.
–School Library Journal
IF YOU LOVE THIS BOOK, THEN TRY:
Birney, Betty G. The World According to Humphrey. Putnam, 2004.
Geras, Adele. The Cats of Cuckoo Square: Two Stories. Delacorte, 2001.
Haddix, Margaret Peterson. Say What? Simon & Schuster, 2004.
Howe, Deborah, and Howe, James. Bunnicula: A Rabbit-Tale of Mystery.Atheneum, 1979.
King-Smith, Dick. Babe, the Gallant Pig. Crown, 1985.
King-Smith, Dick. Clever Lollipop. Candlewick, 2003.
King-Smith, Dick. Harriet’s Hare. Crown, 1995.
King-Smith, Dick. Pigs Might Fly. Viking, 1982.
King-Smith, Dick. The School Mouse. Little, Brown, 1995.
MacDonald, Betty. Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle. Lippincott, 1975. (And others in the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle series.)
O’Brien, Anne Sibley. The Princess and the Beggar: A Korean Folktale. Scholastic, 1993.
Quindlen, Anna. Happily Ever After. Viking, 1997.
Robb, Laura. Snuffles and Snouts. Dial, 1995.
White, E. B. Charlotte’s Web. HarperCollins, 1952.