Written and Illustrated by Arthur Geisert
Enchanted Lion Books, 2011
The plot in a nutshell: Pigs on an island find a way to solve a problem.
Dozens of pigs live on a small island where the sun burns brightly in the sky just about all the time. Their water reservoir is running low and finding relief from the heat is difficult. So the pigs devise a plan and build an airship that carries them over the water to a place where there are icebergs. They put a sail on one iceberg, attach it to their airship and tow it back to their island. Together, they work to cut the ice into blocks, which they use to refill their reservoir and cool their homes.
Author/illustrator Arthur Geisert gives us another wordless story about a group of pigs and the ways that they overcome a particular difficulty. I found myself really interested in these pigs right from the cover, in which we see them as a group, looking like they are posing for a picture on their tiny little island. I immediately wanted to know more, about their reasons for being on the island, how long they’ve lived there and how they manage to survive on an island that seems to offer no vegetation or resources of any kind. We see them pull together to solve their water crisis and even more admirably, they do it in an optimistic way, smiling while they plan their ocean voyage. Everyone has a role to play and you get the idea that they do everything together, which is probably the key to their survival.
Of course, I realize I’m over-analyzing a picture book about pigs, but I always remember the types of questions my own children asked during story time. There were definitely times that we got into some deep discussions about book characters, so when I find books that encourage you to question and ponder, my brain tends to go there. (Thanks, kids!) The artwork here is done in etchings, which was Mr. Geisert’s usual medium, and showcases lots of little details about these pigs and their world. The pictures illustrate the processes and the processes give us more information about the characters. It makes for an interesting story that I really enjoyed.
And what did we learn? What I take away from this book is that there are always solutions to your problems and they’re easier to fix with lots of help.