written and illustrated by Lindy Tucker
(Charlesbridge Books) 2010
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher
Porkelia is a pig who is looking for more in life than mud rooting. A porcine fortune teller envisions Porkelia as a the first pig Rockette. The other pigs warn her that she will end up as an "apple-stuffed ham", but our plucky heroine is not to be denied. She finds a gold dancing suit on sale to go with some kickin' red tap shoes and a gold star hat. Porkelia practices until she is ready to meet her Rockette destiny in New York City. Fame does not come immediately as she finds a day job at Blender World and dances at night to make ends meet in the big city. Months drag into years as Porkelia wonders if she will ever make it out of Blender World and into fame. When all hope seems lost, an agent appears to take her out of the world of puree and into a life of paparazzi and pampering.
Porkelia is a humorous tale of chasing dreams and overcoming obstacles. Lindy Tucker's text is full of rich description ("...her spirit was full of angst and despair.") which provides several opportunities for vocabulary instruction. It would also be a good mentor text for teaching personification and author's purpose. I would want to ask readers why the author chose a pig as the main character for this story and if there are any lessons (allegories) in the story of Porkelia. The hilarious illustrations and parodies of our current pop culture also make this book a winning picture book choice for older students.