Did you know small words are hiding undercover in big words? In Richard Wilbur’s poetry collection The Pig in the Spigot, words are under attack! Wilbur cracks the secret hiding places of little words,
revealing the small words taking cover in large words. Little words can fool you;
for example, the little word ape is hiding in the big word
trapeze. But the little words cannot fool the author. He’ll show you where
eat is hidden in sweater and gnat is concealed in
The littlest words elf, ant and hat are brought out of hiding, as are the longer words
ouch and neigh. But not only does the author chase these small words out into the open; he
also takes the large words and breaks them open with definitions and explanations via his poems. The illustrations certainly help in this regard, too.
The unique cartoons in this book do what they wish - the unpredictable. When you study the illustrations, all the jokes come out. Look for the “Got Eggs” taxi, the meat truck being driven by a horse, and the
Boo ghost book written by R. Scary. These are just some of the surprises waiting for a close look at the illustrations that accompany the 28 poems in this book, which range in size from two to ten lines. With asymmetrical characters, disproportional parts, and some illustrations that are just notions or outlines of objects, there is a lot to enjoy on each page. My favorite illustration is the moth;
as he munches on a sweater he goes “Anga, Anga.” Of course, the name brand in the sweater says
"Moth". The ants waiting to get in the cookie jar is a great illustration, too,
with their vibrating antennae. They sense good things are inside, and the word “treat” is printed between one ant’s antennae.
Richard Wilbur is a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize for poetry. His other books include The Disappearing Alphabet and Opposites, More Opposites, and a Few Differences.
J. Otto Seibold uses Adobe Illustrator to create the drawings in The Pig in the Spigot. Seibold has worked with his wife, Vivian Walsh, to create five other books for children such as Olive, the Other Reindeer and Mr. Lunch Takes a Plane Ride, which was based on an actual experience.
Together Wilbur and Seibold have brought poetry to children in a very innovative way. When you’re with this book, there is nothing scary or hard about words. Enter this world of poetry to appreciate the fun in words and
to discover where language can lead you.