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*Little Oink* by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, illustrated by Jen Corace
Also by Amy Krouse Rosenthal:

Uni the Unicorn


Bedtime for Mommy

Little Hoot

Little Pea

Also illustrated by Jen Corace:


Little Hoot

Little Pea

Little Oink
by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, illustrated by Jen Corace
Ages 4-8 36 pages Chronicle April 2009 Hardcover    

Mess-up time makes Little Oink frown. He would rather fold his clothes than unfold them and hang up his towel instead of throwing it on the floor, but these are the kinds of chores Little Oink has to do in his family. Before he can go outside and play his favorite game, he has to empty out his toy box, unmake his bed, and change into dirty clothes. Little Oink envies his friend Cat, who gets to dust her toys, and Mouse, who gets to wash his floor.

In this story, there are animals that make messes and animals that prevent messes. Unfortunately, Little Oink has to live with mess-makers. But even though heís a tidy pig living in an untidy world, he has found ways to stay happy. When Little Oink eats out of his trough, he keeps clean by wearing a bib and using utensils. While out digging for truffles in the dirt, Little Oink keeps his hands clean by wearing gloves. And if Little Oink wants to indulge in a little sweeping, scouring and scrubbing, he retreats to his home away from home - a home only accessible to birds or those who climb ladders.

Readers who hate messes will feel Link Oinkís discomfort during mess-up time and his disgust when he walks across a room where piles of clothes, a half-eaten sandwich, and spilled paint cover the floor. His parents are smiling amid the mess, but Little Oink isnít; you can almost feel him rush off that particular page in the story. On the other hand, young readers who make messes of their own may wish their parents allowed a little mess-up time in their house.

Just as she did in some of her earlier books, Amy Krouse Rosenthal shows us what it looks like when parents and children swap behaviors and beliefs. In Little Pea, the parents want their child to eat candy, not vegetables, and in Little Hoot, the parents want their child to stay up late, not go to bed early.

Not only is Little Oink a fun story with a happy ending. It also introduces little readers to words like savored, relished, scour, and my two favorites: hap-pig-ly and Gruel au Gratin. Jen Corace adds detail to her illustrations to give readers a sense of just how tidy Little Oink likes to be. In his bedroom, his books are arranged from tallest to smallest. His bonsai tree looks healthy and is off the floor (unlike his momís poor plants), his string collection is wound up tight, and he keeps a broom in his tree house.

Rendered in ink and watercolors, Coraceís colorful artwork appears clean and uncluttered against a white background (Little Oink would approve). She also incorporates some of the past into her illustrations. Her young characters play with dollhouses and blocks; floors are washed with bars of soap; eye-wear is styled like catís-eye glasses; and messages are written on blackboards with chalk.

Amy Krouse Rosenthal wrote the hilarious Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life. Her other books for adults include The Motherís Guide to the Meaning of Life and The Book of Eleven. Her childrenís books include the previously mentioned titles as well as Cookies: Bite-Size Life Lessons and One of Those Days. She lives in Chicago.

Jen Corace studied illustration at the Rhode Island School of Design. Her illustrations have appeared in magazines and the childrenís books Little Pea and Little Hoot. Although she lives in Seattle now, the years she spent in New Jersey have inspired her work.

Amy Krouse Rosenthal has yet to write a childrenís book I havenít thoroughly enjoyed. Parents and librarians would be wise to start a collection.

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  Tanya Boudreau/2009 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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