Perfect Pigs

 

PIGS! There’s Pooh’s best friend Piglet, in A.A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh; Sesame Street’s glamorous Miss Piggy (of the lavender gloves); Warner Brothers’ stuttering Porky; and the spooky episode in Homer’s Odyssey, when the sorceress Circe turns Odysseus’s men into pigs. Taran, hero of Lloyd Alexander’s  Chronicles of Prydain series, is an assistant pig-keeper, in charge of the visionary pig Hen Wen. Stalinist pigs Squealer, Napoleon, and Snowball take over George Orwell’s Animal Farm.

More pigs? Famous Pigs has detailed information on many famous pigs, both imaginary and real, with illustrations.

PIG TALES

  Audrey and Don Wood’s rhyming Piggy Pie Po (Harcourt Children’s Books, 2010) consists of three short and funny tales, variously about what a bouncy little pig wears (“When he wears his yellow coat/Piggy Pie Po likes to boat”), knows (“For a penny he will spell/Pistachio and pimpernel”), and eats (disastrously, a red-hot pepper). For ages 3-6.
See the Audrey Wood author page for information on the making of the book, a Piggy art show, and printable Piggy activity pages.
  In Audrey and Don Wood’s Piggies (Sandpiper, 1995), a drove of hilarious and spectacularly inventive (sunbathers, bookworms, basketball players) pigs cavort on fingers and toes. For ages 3-6.
  In Laura Numeroff’s If You Give a Pig a Pancake (HarperCollins, 1998), as in the now-near-classic If You Give a Mouse a Cookie (1985), a small beginning leads to complication after complication (the pancake leads to a demand for sticky maple syrup which leads to a need for a bubble bath which leads to a request for a rubber duck…). For ages 3-7.
Also see Numeroff’s If You Give a Pig a Party (HarperCollins, 2005).
  In Arthur Geisert’s Oink (Sandpiper, 1995) – illustrated in black and white and pink – a mother pig and her eight little piglets pass the day, all the action accompanied by the single word “oink,” delivered in several different tones of voice. Among them a furious OINK when mother pig discovers her piglets rampaging in the apple orchard. For ages 3-6.
  Arthur Geisert’s Pigs from A to Z (Sandpiper, 1996) is a wonderful (and wonderfully illustrated) twist on conventional alphabet books. As seven piglets build a treehouse, readers discover the many copies of letters hidden in the clever drawings on each page. For ages 3-6.
  Arthur Geisert’s Hogwash (Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2008) is a marvelous mix of pig story and Rube Goldberg machine: the piglets are covered with mud, dust, and paint after a fun-filled day, so their mothers scrub them clean in an enormous bath machine, a contraption of tubs, chutes, pulleys, and cranks that will entrance any young engineer. For ages 3-7.
  Beatrix Potter wasn’t all rabbits; two of her famous tales are about pigs: The Tale of Little Pig Robinson and The Tale of Pigling Bland (Frederick Warne, 2002). For ages 3-7.
See here for books and resources on RABBITS.
  Do you remember Mr. Magoo – the massively myopic cartoon character who wandered blithely, blindly, and safely through disaster after disaster? In Colin McNaughton’s Suddenly! (Sandpiper, 1998), oblivious Preston the pig is being stalked by a menacing wolf – but each time, just as the wolf prepares to pounce, SUDDENLY something happens that allows Preston to escape. For ages 3-7.
  The title character of Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s Little Oink (Chronicle Books, 2009) is a very unusual little pig: he likes things neat, clean, and tidy. (“Mess up your room, put on some dirty clothes, and then you can go out and play,” said Mama Pig.) For ages 3-7.
  For those who like the reverse psychology of Little Oink, check out Mitchell Sharmat’s Gregory, the Terrible Eater (Scholastic, 2009), starring Gregory, a little goat, who – to the despair of his parents – spurns tin cans and newspapers in favor of healthy fruits and vegetables.
For more books and resources, see EAT YOUR VEGGIES (And Other Healthy Stuff).
  Jean Van Leeuwen’s Tales of Amanda Pig (Puffins Books, 1994) is a collection of short simple tales about Amanda, a pig all kids can relate to: she fights with her big brother Oliver, doesn’t like what her mother cooks for dinner, worries about an imaginary monster in the hallway, and doesn’t want to go to bed on time. There are many more titles in the Amanda Pig series, all easy readers dealing with the everyday activities of Amanda and Oliver. For ages 3-7.
  Jim Aylesworth’s Aunt Pitty Patty’s Piggy (Scholastic, 1999) is a folksy cumulative tale in which Aunt Pitty and niece Nelly – enlisting help from everyone in sight – try to convince their new pig to go through the gate into the farmyard. (“No, no, no, I will not go!”) For ages 3-7.
Classroom Connections has lists of related books and a book-making activity to accompany Aunt Pitty Patty’s Piggy.
  Mo Willems’s wonderful comic-book-style Elephant and Piggie series features two very different friends:  Gerald, a down-to-earth elephant, and Piggie, an ebullient and over-optimistic pig. First of the series is Today I Will Fly! (Hyperion Books, 2007). Many sequels, all great. For ages 3-8.
  In Susan Jeschke’s Perfect the Pig (Henry Holt, 1996), Perfect – who does a good deed and is granted a wish for wings – survives a kidnapping and a stint as “The Great Flying Oink” to live happily ever after with his beloved guardian, Olive. For ages 4-7.
  Ian Falconer’s Olivia (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2000) stars an adorable and irrepressible pig with a talent for singing loud songs, building sandcastles, and painting pictures on the walls. (And she’s very good at wearing people out.) Who doesn’t love Olivia? Many sequels. For ages 3-8.
  The main characters of Holly Hobbie’s Toot & Puddle (Little, Brown, 1997) are two enchanting little pigs: travel-minded Toot who roams all over the world, faithfully sending postcards home to Puddle, who doesn’t like to leave Woodcock Pocket. There are many sequels, throughout which Toot and Puddle, despite their differences, remain best friends. (Get a map, encourage your kids to draw postcards of their own, and you’ve got a great geography project here.) For ages 4-7.
  In Mark Teague’s Pigsty (Scholastic, 2004), Wendell’s despairing mother pronounces his room a pigsty and sends him upstairs to clean – where Wendell discovers a pig sprawled on his bed. The two new friends lead a happy and messy existence until more (and more) pigs arrive, and things get out of hand. Finally, driven to the wall, Wendell cleans – which drives the pigs back to the farm. For ages 4-7.
  Cynthia Rylant’s Poppleton (Blue Sky Press, 1997) – a nice pick for beginning readers – is a short and funny chapter book starring Poppleton, a city pig who has relocated to the country, where he deals with an overly friendly neighbor (who plies him with oatmeal and toasted cheese), his need for privacy while reading, and a sick friend (a goat) who refuses to take his medicine. There are several Poppleton sequels. For ages 4-8.
  In Jane Yolen’s picture book Piggins (Sandpiper, 1992), the Reynards have thrown an elegant dinner party to show off Mrs. Reynard’s new diamond necklace. Then the lights go out – and when they come on again, the necklace (horrors!) is gone. Luckily Piggins, the Reynards’ savvy and elegant butler, is able to follow the clues to identify the culprit. For ages 4-8.
  In Robert Munsch’s Pigs, Megan’s father asks her to feed the pigs, but warns her not to open the gate. (“Pigs are smarter than you think.”) Megan promises not to – but she does. And the pigs are. For ages 4-8.
  In John Himmelman’s Pigs to the Rescue (Henry Holt and Company, 2010), eight excitable pigs (“Pigs to the rescue!”) solve (well, more or less) a multitude of problems on the Greenstalk farm. For ages 4-8.
  “Like most children,” begins Michael Ian Black’s A Pig Parade Is a Terrible Idea (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2010), “you have probably thought to yourself at one time or another, I bet a pig parade would be a lot of fun.” Well, the author quickly points out, forget it: pigs won’t march (they prefer to snuffle); they refuse to wear majorette uniforms; and the only floats they’re interested in involve root beer. Great pictures by Kevin Hawkes and a deadpan delivery make this a hoot for ages 4-8.
  Arnold Lobel’s Small Pig (HarperCollins, 1988), an I Can Read Book, is the simple (but clever) story of a floppy-eared little pig who likes nothing better than to wallow in his mud puddle. When the farmer’s wife goes on a cleaning spree, he runs away and finds what he thinks is a new mud puddle in the city – which, disastrously, turns out to be a patch of soft cement. For ages 4-8.
  In Bill Peet’s Chester the Worldly Pig (Houghton Mifflin, 1978), Chester (who can stand on his snout) becomes a circus star. For ages 4-8.
  Gerald McDermott’s Pig-Boy (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009) is a re-telling of a traditional trickster tale from Hawaii in which Pig-Boy – shown as a cheerful purple pig – manages to slither out of trouble by using shape-shifting magic. For ages 4-8.
  The theme of Eileen Spinelli’s Princess Pig (Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2009) is “To thine own self be true.” When a Princess sash from the county fair beauty pageant blows away and lands on Pig, she begins to wonder if she might truly be a princess after all. Despite protests from her barnyard friends, she revels in her new princess status, acquiring a crown (a tea cup), jewels (a daisy-chain necklace), and – via a roll in the honeysuckle – a princess-like smell. But it turns out that life as a princess isn’t as fun as expected, and finally Pig takes Pony’s advice (“there’s nothing wrong with being a pig”) and returns happily to her friends on the farm. For ages 4-8.
  In Cornelia Funke’s Princess Pigsty (The Chicken House, 2007), Princess Isabella is sick of being pretty, proper, and pampered, and she doesn’t want to wear a crown. In fact, she wants to get dirty. Her harried father sends her to work in the pigsty as punishment, where Isabella finds that she enjoys the pigs. Finally her father, who misses her, coaxes her back to the palace with a promise of more freedom, and the book closes with a dirty and delighted Isabella, crownless and in pants. For ages 5-8.
See PRINCESSES, PRINCES (And a Few Frogs).
  In Anthony Browne’s Piggybook (Dragonfly Books, 1990), the overworked and underappreciated Mrs. Piggott abandons her slovenly husband and sons, leaving behind a note reading “You are pigs.” Left on their own, man and boys are unable to cope and soon all three of them – literally – turn into pigs. Finally Mrs. Piggott returns, and her family is only too glad to accept her re-assignment of chores. For ages 5-8.
  In William Stieg’s The Amazing Bone (Square Fish, 2011), Pearl – a perfect charmer of a pig in a pink dress and sunbonnet – discovers a magical talking bone that helps her fend off masked bandits and a hungry fox. For ages 5-8.
  The main character of Kate DeCamillo’s Mercy Watson to the Rescue (Candlewick, 2009) is Mercy Watson, pampered pet pig, fond of buttered toast – who, via a series of accidents, manages to save the day. Many chaotic sequels for ages 6-9.
  By James Marshall, with illustrations by Maurice Sendak, Swine Lake (HarperCollins, 1999) is a tongue-in-cheek delight. The wolf arrives at the all-pig Boarshoi Ballet’s performance of Swine Lake, prepared to leap on the stage and nab a tasty porker – but he’s so enthralled by the performance that instead he sits through the whole thing, and even spends his last penny on a ticket to the next night’s performance. For ages 6-10.
See GOTTA DANCE!
  Walter R. Brooks’s 26 Freddy the Pig books, originally written in the 1930’s and 40’s, all feature Freddy, a versatile, poetic, and hilarious pig, and his animal friends on the Bean farm. Freddy is always ready to try something new; while he and his friends struggle to deal with the wicked schemes of Simon and his gang of rats, Freddy variously tries his hand at being a detective, explorer, politician, magician, pilot, and cowboy. In Freddy the Detective (Overlook Juvenile Books, 2010), Freddy discovers Sherlock Holmes and promptly sets out to emulate his new hero, solving assorted mysteries involving a stolen toy train, a missing bunny named Egbert, and a false charge of murder.  For ages 7-11.
  Freddy the Pig’s Home Page has synopses of all the Freddy books, more information on Freddy and the Bean farm, illustrations, and a biography of Walter R. Brooks. Visit the site and become an official Friend of Freddy.
More on mysteries? See SHERLOCK HOLMES AND COMPANY: A MULTITUDE OF MYSTERIES.
  In Dick King-Smith’s Pigs Might Fly (Puffin, 1990), Daggie Dogfoot, the runt of Mrs. Barleylove’s litter, is born with peculiar dog-like feet, and narrowly escapes being taken away by the farmer, known to the pigs as the Pigman. Though he tries his best to learn to fly, instead dauntless Daggie learns to swim, with help from friends Felicity (a duck) and Isaak (an otter). He puts his talent to use when the Pigman and the other pigs are trapped by a flood. A story of hope, determination, and triumph over obstacles for ages 7-11.
  In Dick King-Smith’s Babe: The Gallant Pig (Yearling, 1995): gentle and soft-spoken Babe, raised by Farmer Hoggett’s sheepdog Fly, is determined to become a sheep-herder in turn. Nobody believes a pig can do it, until Babe – a good negotiator if there ever was one – triumphs in the National Sheepdog Trials. A sequel, Ace, the Very Important Pig (Yearling, 1992) stars Babe’s highly intelligent great-grandson. For ages 7-11.
  The 1995 movie version of Babe: The Gallant Pig is loved by practically everybody. Rated G.
  In E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web (HarperCollins, 2006), originally published in 1952, Charlotte, the wise spider, befriends Wilbur, a sweetheart of a pig, and saves his life by weaving messages in her web (“Some Pig”). For ages 7-12.
  Charlotte’s Web has links to author E.B. White and illustrator Garth Williams, a list of lesson plans (including discussion questions and free software for designing an online farm), printable quizzes and worksheets (among these, a form for taking a favorite character survey and creating a bar graph), general information on pigs and spiders, and Charlotte-related games.
From Web English Teacher, the E.B. White: Lesson Plans page has lesson plans, online quizzes, discussion guides, and activities to accompany Charlotte’s Web.
  Film versions of Charlotte’s Web include the 2006 movie, with Dakota Fanning as Fern, and Julia Roberts as the voice of Charlotte; and the 1973 animated movie, with Debbie Reynolds as Charlotte.
  In Jane Simmons’s Beryl: A Pig’s Tale (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2011), Beryl is wrenched from her family and sent on a truck to market. She escapes and finds friends among the wild pigs – though prejudice soon forces her and her adopted family to leave the community and look for a new home – encountering en route the Sisterhood of the Mystic Boar (who proclaim Beryl the “Chosen One”). For ages 8-12.
  In Chris Kurtz’s The Adventures of a South Pole Pig (Harcourt Children’s Books, 2013) (“a novel of snow and courage”), feisty Flora has been raised on a farm with sled dogs, and is determined to become a sled pig. She ends up on a ship to Antarctica where she becomes friends with the ship’s cat and learns to catch rats – and when the crew is shipwrecked and stranded, Flora’s brains and talent save the day. For ages 8-12.
  Lloyd Alexander’s Newbery-winning Chronicles of Prydain (Square Fish, 2006), originally published in 1964, is a five-book fantasy series based on Welsh mythology. Titles are The Book of Three, The Black Cauldron, The Castle of Llyr, Taran Wanderer, and The High King. The hero of the series is Taran, the Assistant Pig-Keeper, charged with the care of the oracular white pig, Hen Wen, who holds the secret to the destruction of Arawn Death-Lord and the evil Horned King. For ages 9 and up.
  A Disney animated movie, The Black Cauldron (1985), is based on the first two books of the series. Rated PG.
  In William Sleator’s Interstellar Pig (Puffin, 1995), Barney, on vacation, meets neighbors who invite him to play a strange role-playing game called Interstellar Pig. It turns out that the neighbors are aliens and the game is a battle for the survival of Earth. For ages 9-12.
  In Mark Holtzen’s The Pig War (CreateSpace, 2012), Kell and his full-of-beans little sister Grace (who wears a red satin cape) are sent to spend the summer with their grandfather in his cabin on remote Mowbray Island in the Pacific Northwest. Kell expects a terrible experience – until he discovers a pistol and diary dating to the mid-19th century Pig War, a boundary dispute between the U.S. and Canada. Suspense, adventure, some little-known history, and rewarding relationships for ages 10 and up.
  Paul Shipton’s The Pig Scrolls (Candlewick, 2007) is narrated by Gryllus, once one of Odysseus’s shipmates, now – thanks to Circe – an enchanted talking pig with a snarky sense of humor. (“Learn a proper trade,” he tells teenage poet Homer. “Like plumbing.”) He’s quite happy being a pig – but greater things are in store, since a junior prophetess named Sybil has just discovered that he’s destined to save the cosmos from Thanatos, the god of death. A riotous read for ages 10-14.
  Robert Newton Peck’s A Day No Pigs Would Die (Laurel Leaf, 1990) is a coming-of-age book set in rural Vermont in the 1930’s, centering around young Robert; his illiterate father, Haven, a pig butcher; and Robert’s pig Pinky – a gift from a neighboring farmer after Robert saved the farmer’s calf. The book is superbly written, and deals well with a number of difficult issues. For ages 12 and up.
From Web English Teacher, A Day No Pigs Would Die has lesson plans, reading guides, and vocabulary lists to accompany the book.
  George Orwell’s Animal Farm (available in many editions) is a now-classic political fable in which the animals of Manor Farm, led by the pigs Snowball and Napoleon, overthrow their human owners and establish a new regime dedicated to fairness and equality. As the book progresses, however, the now re-named “Animal Farm” becomes increasingly totalitarian and eventually the pigs take the place of the animals’ former human masters. The complete text of Animal Farm is available online. For ages 12 and up.
In the 1999 film version of Animal Farm, directed by John Stephenson, pigs Snowball, Squealer, and Napoleon are respectively voiced by Kelsey Grammar, Ian Holm, and Patrick Stewart. Rated PG.
  The classic story Pigs Is Pigs – written by Ellis Parker Butler in 1905 – actually deals with guinea pigs. The premise: after an argument over railway rates for shipping two guinea pigs, a railway agent ends up temporarily housing the pigs, during which time they (geometrically) reproduce.
  Charles Lamb’s Dissertation on Roast Pig is a tongue-in-cheek essay on the origin of roast pig. According to Lamb, the dish originated in China, with a swineherd’s son named Bobo, who inadvertently burned his house down, with a litter of pigs inside.

THE THREE LITTLE PIGS

The famous tale of the Three Little Pigs is available in dozens of versions.

  Paul Galdone’s Three Little Pigs (Clarion, 1984) is a traditional telling of the story, complete with houses of straw, sticks, and bricks and a really bad wolf who ends up falling into a pot of boiling water and getting cooked for dinner. For ages 4-8.
  Steven Kellogg’s Three Little Pigs (HarperTrophy, 2002) is a spiffy update: the pigs have a waffle business; the wolf – who wants to eat pigs, not waffles – is a thug in a leather jacket. (He reforms at the end, but only after a sobering encounter with a hot waffle iron.) For ages 4-8.
  In James Marshall’s personality-laden The Three Little Pigs (Grosset & Dunlap, 2000), the hero and ultimate defeater of the wolf is the third little pig, an imperturbable type who appears in bowler and waistcoat, sporting a cane. For ages 4-8.
  Jon Scieszka’s The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs (Puffin Books, 1996) is told from the aggrieved point of view of the wolf, now in a prison cell. None of the pig incidents was his fault, he claims; all he was trying to do was borrow a cup of sugar to make his dear old granny a birthday cake. For ages 4-8.
  Eugene Trivizas’s The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig (Aladdin, 1997) is an even more wolf-friendly version of the story: the wolves, who are cuddly, soft, and fluffy-tailed, build themselves a series of increasingly sturdy houses, only to be repeatedly attacked by the Big Bad Pig, armed with sledgehammer, jackhammer, and dynamite. They eventually tame the beast by building a gorgeous house of sweet-smelling pig-seducing flowers. For ages 4-8.
  Teresa Celsi’s The Fourth Little Pig (Steck-Vaughn, 1992) adds a feisty little sister to the Pig family, who convinces her three brothers, traumatized by their scary experience with the wolf, to relax, go outdoors, and have fun. For ages 4-8.
  Donivee Laird’s Three Little Hawaiian Pigs and the Magic Shark (Barnaby Books, 1990) sets the pigs in Hawaii, where they build houses of grass, driftwood, and lava rock, go surfing, and fend off a pig-stalking shark. For ages 4-8.
  Arlene Laverde’s Alaska’s Three Pigs (Sasquatch Books, 2000) moves the three to the far north where they build an igloo and battle a huffing and puffing grizzly bear. For ages 4-8.
  Susan Lowell’s The Three Little Javelinas (Rising Moon Books, 1992) turns the pigs into peccaries and transfers them to the American southwest, where they build houses of tumbleweed, saguaro sticks, and adobe bricks, and defeat a hungry coyote. For ages 4-8.
  David Wiesner’s brilliant The Three Pigs (Clarion, 2001) is a delightful new take on the tale: here the pigs refuse to stick to their story line but instead turn a book page into a paper airplane and zoom off into the margins, to visit other fairy tales and nursery rhymes. (They even rescue a dragon, who eventually returns the favor, and all end up living happily in the brick house.) For ages 5 and up.
In Bruce Whatley’s clever Wait! No Paint! (HarperCollins, 2005), the author/illustrator – represented only by a Mysterious Voice – becomes involved in his own three-pigs story; the house of straw, for example, collapses when he spills a glass of juice across the page. Then he runs out of red paint, so the pigs turn green. Finally his subjects revolt. For ages 4-8.
  In Margie Palatini’s Piggie Pie! (Sandpiper, 1997), the barnyard pigs are threatened by Gritch the (green-fingernailed) Witch, who announces her arrival on broomstick by writing “Surrender Piggies!” across the sky. The pigs manage to evade her by disguising themselves as ducks, sheep, and cows; finally, thwarted, the frustrated Gritch goes off to have lunch with the Big Bad Wolf, who still hasn’t managed to nab any pigs either. For ages 4-8.
  In Steven Guarnaccia’s The Three Little Pigs: An Architectural Tale (Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2010), the pigs are the very professional alter-egos of famous architects Frank Gehry, Philip Johnson, and Frank Lloyd Wright. All pore over blueprints as they construct elaborate houses from scraps, glass, or stone and concrete – this last Wright’s Fallingwater, to which the pigs retreat to escape from the wolf, a sinister character in boots and a leather jacket. For ages 4-8.
  In Liz Pichon’s The Three Horrid Little Pigs (Tiger Tales, 2010), the pigs are so awful that their mother boots them out to find their own homes. Determinedly horrid, pig one steals straw from the cows; pig two steals sticks from the birds; and pig three moves into a chicken coop. Luckily, when their victims protest, a helpful wolf offers the homeless and repentant pigs a pot of soup and a place to live. For ages 4-8.
  Roald Dahl’s wicked poem The Three Little Pigs features a nefarious Little Red Riding Hood.
The Three Little Pigs, an excerpt from Bruno Bettelheim’s The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales, discusses the deeper meaning behind the pig tale, and neatly shows the difference between a fairy tale and a fable.
  Obsessively Stitching has patterns and a tutorial for making an adorable trio of pink pig finger puppets and a fuzzy wolf puppet, along with house templates.
  Three Little Pigs Finger Puppets is another version of pigs and wolf puppets, made from felt scraps. (The pigs wear little overalls and sweaters.)
Puppets to You has a simple puppet script for enacting The Three Little Pigs.
For many more books and resources, see FAIRY TALES.

PIG POEMS

  Collected by Jane Yolen, This Little Piggy (Candlewick, 2008) is a compendium of action songs and games for the very young, with a bit of background information for each, plus instructions, simple musical arrangements, and an accompanying CD. Included, along with “This Little Piggy,” are “I’m a Little Teapot,” “Goosey, Goosey, Gander,” “Dance for Your Daddy,” and many more. For ages 0-3.
  In the spirit of Charles and Ray Eames’s Powers of Ten, Douglas Florian’s A Pig Is Big (Greenwillow, 2000) segues in rhyme from a pig to a city street to a continent to – eventually – the universe (“the biggest thing of all/compared to it, all things seem small”). For ages 4-8.
  The title poem in Jack Prelutsky’s It’s Raining Pigs and Noodles (Greenwillow, 2005) features pigs: “It’s raining pigs and noodles/It’s pouring frogs and hats/chrysanthemums and poodles/bananas, brooms, and cats.” For ages 5-10.
  Roald Dahl’s poem The Pig  is found in his poetry collection, Dirty Beasts (Puffin, 2002).
  Poets on Pigs is an online collection of pig poems by everyone from Ogden Nash and Mother Goose to Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sara Teasdale, and Noel Coward.

REAL PIGS

  Gail Gibbons’s appealingly illustrated Pigs (Holiday House, 2000) is a straightforward overview of real pigs in which readers learn about origin, breeds, behaviors, and uses of pigs, and discover the definitions of such terms as sow, swine, and boar. For ages 4-8.
  Jules Older’s Pig (Charlesbridge Publishing, 2004), for the same age group, is filled with catchy trivia – for example, kids find out about pigs worldwide, pet pigs, and pig behaviors, as in why do pigs like to wallow in mud? For ages 4-8.
  John Pukite’s A Field Guide to Pigs (Falcon, 1999) is a 128-page illustrated guide to domesticated and wild breeds of pigs, filled with unusual pig facts, pig sayings, pig superstitions, accounts of famous pigs, and a timeline of pig history. For teenagers and adults.
  Lyall Watson’s The Whole Hog (Smithsonian Books, 2004) is an entertaining history of pigs (including reminiscences of the author’s pet warthog). Readers learn about pig evolution, anatomy, behavior, intelligence, and a lot of unexpected cool facts. For teenagers and adults.
  A war over a pig? E.C. Coleman’s The Pig War (The History Press, 2010) is an account of the “Pig War” (1859-1872) that broke out between the United States and Great Britain when an American living on an island off Washington state shot a British pig. For teenagers and adults.
  From PBS, The Joy of Pigs is a fascinating video survey of ancient pigs, modern pigs, global pigs, pet (Vietnamese pot-bellied) pigs, and some truly bizarre-looking wild pigs. See the website for background information, photos, puzzles, and resource lists.
  Pig Information has brief information on raising pigs (a common 4-H livestock project), breeds of pigs, pig supplies, and an audio clip of pig sounds. (Not exactly oink.)

MATHEMATICAL PIGS

  Amy Axelrod’s cartoon-illustrated pigs-and-math books include Pigs at Odds (Aladdin, 2003) in which the pig family struggles with probability at the county fair; Pigs on a Blanket (Aladdin, 1998), in which the pigs learn time concepts while racing to the beach for a swim; Pigs in the Pantry (Aladdin, 1999) in which the pigs, armed with measuring spoons and cups, try to follow numerical instructions in a recipe for Firehouse Chili; and Pigs Will Be Pigs (Aladdin, 1997), in which the pigs – hungry for enchiladas, but the piggy bank is empty – scour the house for loose change and bills, keeping a running tally until they’ve finally accumulated enough money for a meal. And more. For ages 5-8.
The Amy Axelrod author website has activity sheets to accompany Axelrod’s pigs-and-math books.
In Grace Maccarone’s Three Pigs, One Wolf, Seven Magic Shapes (Cartwheel Books, 1998), the featured pigs, who live in the village next door to the original three little pigs, set out to make their fortunes meeting many animals along the way, including the twin brother of the original Big Bad Wolf. Most of the animals in the book are made of tangram shapes, a vehicle used to teach readers a little geometry. Included with the book is a set of tangrams with which kids can make geometric animals of their own. For ages 4-8.
An Old Tale with a New Turn from Teaching Children Mathematics is a detailed account of using Maccarone’s book in the classroom, with illustrations of children’s work.
  The Game of Pig is a fast-paced mathematical game for two players, using two dice. The rules are explained at the website, or there’s an option to play online (against a pig).
  The Pig Pen Puzzle challenge is to draw just two squares to provide separate pens for nine different pigs. There’s a printable pig worksheet at the website, and – for the frustrated and impatient – the solution.
  3 Pigs Build a Brick House has printable worksheets for “building” a pig’s house using Cuisenaire rods.

PIGGY BANKS

  According to The Piggy Bank Page, there are over 180 different kinds of piggy banks. The website has a gallery of piggy-bank pictures and a history of piggy banks.
  Piggy Bank World has a history of piggy banks, an exhibit of piggy banks from the American Museum of Finance, information on saving coins, and a list of the “Top Ten Reasons to Own a Piggy Bank.”
  The Accidental Invention: The Origin of Piggy Banks is a short illustrated history, including a photograph of the world’s oldest money box.
  Enchanted Learning has instructions for making a papier-mache piggy-bank. You’ll need a balloon, newspaper strips, flour glue, and paint. Also see Family Education’s How to Make a Paper Mache Piggy Bank.
  Pig Crafts for Kids has instructions for making a piggy-bank from a plastic water bottle.

 THE LANGUAGE OF PIGS?

  From WikiHow, How to Speak Pig Latin is a tutorial with video clips. (Remember how we all thought our parents didn’t know what we were saying? Pass it on to the next generation.)
  From Grammar Girl, Is Pig Latin a Real Language? debates whether Pig Latin is a language or a code, and has a brief history of Pig Latin.
  In Kate McMullen’s Pig Latin – Not Just for Pigs! (Grosset & Dunlap, 2005) in the Dragon Slayers’ Academy series, young Wiglaf, his pals, and his Pig-Latin-speaking pet pig, Daisy, head out for a long weekend at Erica’s father’s palace – where they encounter liver pox, a peasant revolt, and an inept wizard whose spell results in the king now speaking only in Pig Latin. For ages 7-10.

PIG ACTIVITIES

  Pork4Kids has pig-related games and activities for kids, including coloring pages, a pig counting game, instructions for making a pig costume (with printable mask), and printable placemats to decorate.
  Busy Bee Kids Crafts has photo-illustrated instructions for making a particularly adorable paper-plate pig.
  Egg Carton Pig has instructions for making a fuzzy-eared pig (actually six of them) from cardboard egg-carton cups.
  Craftideas.info has instructions for making pigs (or cows) from small-sized clay flowerpots.
  Make an Origami Pig has easy-to-follow photo-illustrated step-by-step instructions for making an origami pig.
Cupcake Creations has instructions for making cupcake pigs (with marshmallow ears and noses).
  The Party Works has photo-illustrated instructions for a cuter, but more complicated, cupcake pig.
  Ashley’s Craft Corner has instructions and templates for making a pig-ears headband – and in fact, for an entire wardrobe of animal ears, among them rabbit, lamb, giraffe, and elephant. (Put on a play!)
Nick, Jr. has instructions for making a Peppa Pig Puppet Playhouse (you’ll need four cereal boxes) populated with pig paper-doll puppets.
BabyCenter has simple instructions for making paper-bag pig puppets.
  Martha Stewart’s Paper Bag Animal Puppets are particularly attractive; included are instructions for a pig, dog, and lion.
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2 Comments

  1. Sophie
    Posted April 4, 2013 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been trying to recall the name of the book I had on tape in the 90s about a pig. They were funny stories, the bit I most recall was the part when the main piggy character goes to the seaside and lies in the sun and falls asleep covered in oil. There was a smell of crispy bacon.. Any clues? I don’t know why I keep thinking the pig was called daisy – might be totally off. Would love to find out what it was.. Seperately – it just amused me that I spent three attempts trying to stop autocorrect from turning hotmail into “hog”.. 😉

    • rrupp
      Posted November 16, 2015 at 10:17 am | Permalink

      Wish I could help, but I’ve got no idea. Tried researching it for you – and got a million recipes for bacon. Will keep looking.

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