princess and the pig

The Princess and the Pig by Jonathan Emmett, illustrated by Poly Bernatene

I have to admit, I came to this book with a lot of reservations.  It’s ANOTHER princess book in a time filled with sparkly pink books.  But if you are as sick of the regular princess books as I am, then this is just the book for you!   A farmer had a little pig in the back of his hay cart.  He decided to name it Pigmella.  At the same time, in the tower high above, a queen picked up her baby daughter and decided to name her Priscilla.  But the queen dropped the baby out of the window without noticing and up flew the piglet in her place.  Soon the piglet was being treated as a princess and the princess was happily adopted by the farmer and his wife.  After all, this sort of thing happens all the time in books!  The princess was happy at the farm, growing up and making everyone happy.  Unfortunately, the same thing can’t be seen of the piglet, who grew into a pig, could not learn to read, and refused to wear her finery.  But what is to happen when the mix-up is discovered and the young woman is told she is a princess?

Emmett has inundated his book with references to other fairy tales that the characters in the book use to rationalize what has happened.  They blame things on evil fairies and magic, which is why the mix-up is not discovered for so long.  The writing is merry and filled with humor.

That same humor is carried out to great effect in the illustrations.  They are filled with the funny things that would happen if a pig were a princess, the pomp and ceremony that would still be attempted, and the gentle, loving family of farmers raising a real princess.  The illustrations are done so that the characters pop on a softer background.  The jolly nature of the book is embraced in full here.

Exactly the antidote to children who have read too many princess books, this is a shining example of what a twisted fairy tale book can be.  Great fun and very satisfying.  Appropriate for ages 4-7.

Reviewed from library copy.

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