Mercy Watson Thinks Like a Pig
by Kate DiCamillo. Illustrated by Chris Van Dusen. Easy Reader. 70 pages. Grades K-4.
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The author of such substantial novels as the Newbery Award winning The Tale of Despereaux and Because of Winn-Dixie (More info) has turned her sure hand to lighter fare in this series of easy readers. It's always great to have another fresh voice in the genre.
This is the fifth book about the pig, Mercy Watson. The text is rich with judiciously sprinkled juicy words like "unmentionable" and "éclairs" and "gracious".
The text is very playful and light and the illustrations are vibrant and exuberant. They overflow the pages with their rounded shapes and glossy texture--like rainbow bubbles.
The pig is only partly anthropomorphized as the beloved pet of Mr. and Mrs. Watson and most of the other characters are human. In this installment Mercy's neighbors--the elderly women, named Eugenia and Baby, have decided to beautify their yard by planting pansies all around, which Mercy finds delicious.
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- Also by Kate DiCamillo, Because of Winn-Dixie. Read a full Book Review.
Ling and Ting: Not Exactly the Same! by Grace Lin. (2010, Little, Brown. ISBN 9780316024525. Order Info.) Easy Reader. 48 pages. Gr PreK-3.
Here's another charming Easy Reader. Ling and Ting are Chinese American twins, but they are not exactly the same. For one thing there is the jagged cut in Ling's haircut due to a sneeze while her bangs were being trimmed. Then, of course, there are the differences in their personalities and behavior. This beautifully done Easy Reader explores the similarities and differences while affirming their affection for each other. Small vignettes break the book up into accessible chunks each with a dose of gentle humor at the end. Grace Lin won a 2011 Giesel Honor Book award for this strong entry in the beginning reader genre.
Pigs in Hiding by Arlene Dubanevich. (1983, Four Winds. ISBN 0590078720. Order Info.) Picture Book. 32 pages. Gr PreK-2.
While we're on the subject of pigs: Hundreds of pigs hide while one seeks in a two story house. Fortunately, the hiders don't do it very well and we see them throughout the inside and even outside the house. Eventually, half-convinced that they have all gone home, the seeker tries one last desperate measure. After placing a tray of food on the table, the seeker hides. Soon the hiders come from everywhere and the seeker surprises them all. Read full book review.