Prathers Picks: ‘A Pig Parade Is a Terrible Idea’ an enjoyable children’s book
May 27, 2011
Imagine that you're standing along a street in your hometown, watching a parade pass by.
A few hundred members of a marching band look regal, indeed, in their red and white uniforms, trimmed with gold buttons and braid. The band members march in perfect formation as they play a band tune.
There's nothing unusual about this scene, but now imagine that the band members are pigs.
"What a fun parade," you might think.
In fact, "A Pig Parade Is a Terrible Idea."
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That's the title of a picture book, written by Michael Ian Black and illustrated by Kevin Hawkes. It's published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (2010), an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children's Publication Division.
According to the narrator of the book, there are several reasons that a pig parade is a terrible idea.
First of all, the reader has to consider a pig's character. It isn't in a pig's character to march.
A pig likes to "snuffle" or walk around with his nose on the ground, sniffing out mushrooms and other edible things to eat.
So, if pigs were in a parade, they wouldn't be marching at all. They'd be "snuffling" out melting ice cream, spilled popcorn and sticky bubble gum.
One of the comical illustrations in the book gives the reader a "mouth and nose" view of a pig with bubble gum and a lollipop stuck to his skin and a leftover popcorn bag hanging out of his mouth. The pig is a mess.
"Snuffling" is one reason that a pig parade is a terrible idea.
Besides, the narrator writes that pigs "absolutely refuse" to wear uniforms. The result of trying to get pigs into majorette uniforms is recorded in another of the book's illustrations, and it isn't pretty.
Only one pig wears a coat, but the stitching of one of the seams is coming undone. The pig is chewing on his hat.
Another pig has his coat over his eyes so that only his nose sticks out. Standing in front of him and staring him in the nose is another pig that's standing on his coat.
Somehow a white glove has become attached to his back. And, someone has put a coat on top of a big black pig's back and secured it with a cord.
Uniform coats are being tossed in the air, and gloves, hats, and coats are scattered all over the pavement.
One pig has even pulled some of the plumage from one of the hats and is chewing on it. This is certainly not the usual scene for a parade.
And if this isn't enough to convince readers that a pig parade is a terrible idea, consider a pig's choice of music.
Pigs don't care one bit about marching music. They like sad ballads such as "I Just Wanna Plop into This Bucket of Slop."
Besides, pigs would probably eat the sheet music, and the book's cover illustration gives the reader some idea of what might become of the musical instruments.
A pig's nose sticks through what's left of a drum.
Then consider the rest of the parade, like the floats. Pigs don't care that a lot of work goes into floats like "The Three Little Pigs."
But, they do care for a root beer float, decorated with real bottles of root beer. You can probably imagine the result.
And, there's still more evidence to prove that a pig parade is a terrible idea.
However, while a pig just isn't a parade animal, there's another animal out there that is. There's a surprise twist at the end.
Besides having fun with a pig's character, the author and illustrator of this book have captured something of the true nature of a pig, too. Kids will enjoy reading this funny book.
I ordered "A Pig Parade Is a Terrible Idea" in hardcover from a book club for about $16.99.
Ask your bookstore to order it for you.