Hogwash! published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers June 2011
Author: Karma Wilson
Illustrator: Jim McMullan
Every once in a while, a picture book comes along where everything just works perfectly. This is one that is destined to be a classic. The sense of humor is enhanced by clever rhymes and fabulous illustrations. I had to share this with my wife, who has taught younger kids and has an early childhood education background, and she couldn't stop raving about it. With most books sent to us by the publisher for review, I pass them on to local schools or libraries, but we're hanging on to this to share with our (not yet born) grandkids.
The story is a wonderful, boisterous tale of a farmer determined to clean up his animals, and a bunch of pigs determined to stay muddy. It has a sense of fun and engagement similar to Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type, another great book, although I think Hogwash! is even more perfect for reading over and over. I particularly love that the language is rich and beautiful while remaining accessible to young children. The text rhymes, but it is done cleverly and never dumbed down, so that a child would love the rhythmic sound without necessarily even realizing that it rhymed. My wife also noted that the signs the pigs post for the farmer are of a size and style that would encourage beginning readers to pick out the meaning, but still introduce new words.
At the risk of gushing, if you have a young child or grandchild, especially one who loves rhymes and fun and reading aloud, please order a copy of this. You could get it from a library first if you don't believe me, but trust me, you'll buy it eventually.
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