Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Pigs Might Fly - Brett Avison and Janine Dawson

When it doesn’t stop raining for over a week Bryn’s family find themselves in a bit of a pickle. Their farm is situated right by the river which is rising at an alarming rate. They manage to load the sheep, sows, the goat and the cows into trucks just before the river breaks its banks, but there’s a big problem. Where are the piglets and hen? Ted and young Bryn stay behind to look for them, but by the time Bryn spots the hen asleep on her bed in the shed, it’s too late to make their escape – the road is inundated. Just when Bryn thinks the situation seems hopeless, Ted uncovers his shiny new microlight at the back of the shed. But their wings to freedom are not the only discovery Bryn makes in the shed: six piglets have been hiding there too! What are they to do now? They’re not all going to fit into that tiny plane! Don’t worry, this story has a very happy ending and a brilliantly novel one at that. Bryn, with some help from Oscar the dog come up with a marvellous solution – and a surprise – that will delight any young reader of this charming picture book.

The text, written in rhyming verse, is unpretentious and easy to read aloud (always the definitive test); the storyline is straightforward and free-spirited, with just the right amount of micro-tension and suspense to keep the young reader engaged, invested in discovering the outcome of Bryn’s plight. Janine Dawson’s illustrations, as always, work their magic with the verbal text so that the result is well and truly more than the sum of the parts. Her bold, animative, painterly style amplifies the humour and adds movement and excitement to the overall text. Her characterisation brings a gratifying harmony to the music of the rhyming verse.
A thoroughly enjoyable read and a book children and their adults will want to re-visit time and again.

Five Mile Press, 2014

(A version of this review appears in Magpies Vol 29, Issue 2, May 2014)

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