Funny thing about Kate DiCamillo -- she does not write the same book twice. From Because of Winn-Dixie to Tiger Rising and on to her Newbery-winning The Tale of Despereaux, DiCamillo has always followed her own heart and voice. Her latest departure is the first of a promised series about an overfed, overindulged pig named Mercy Watson. Artist Chris Van Dusen joins in the fun with full-color gouache illustrations. With its straightforward story line, repeated text and hilarious illustrations, this new series should delight young readers.
You might not know any house pigs, but my friend Helen lives with her pig Forkie, and Mercy's life seems rather close to Forkie's life of pampered pig bliss. She gets to eat the food she likes, in Mercy's case buttered toast, and she gets to sleep where she likes, right between the equally well-fed Mr. and Mrs. Watson. The Watsons might be smart enough to have the perfect pet, but they are not too bright when it comes to solving life's little problems. For this, they need their pig friend. One night, while the three of them are enjoying a night of repose and dreams of toast, they are awakened by the sound of the floor creaking and breaking. Unable to move or reach the phone, the Watsons are sure that Mercy, who has jumped out of bed, is off to find rescuers. Mercy has more than rescue on her mind; toast with a great deal of butter is her motivation. In a hilarious turn of events, Mercy does indeed manage to find help for her hapless parents but not before an all-out search for sustenance disrupts her elderly neighbors, Baby and Eugenia, and requires the services of Ned and Lorenzo, the local firefighters. In the end, Mercy is no longer just a pig, but a full-fledged porcine wonder. She has saved the day and her reward is a big stack of toast with a great deal of butter. Enthusiastic young fans will eagerly await the further adventures of their new favorite pig.