Saturday, July 8, 2017

Little Pig Saves the Ship

Little Pig Saves the Ship
written and illustrated by David Hyde Costello
2017 (Charlesbridge)
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher

On the first day without his brothers and sisters, Little Pig had a lot of spare time. 

Little Pig's brothers and sisters are going to sailing camp for a week, but he is too small to join them. His downcast face and shrugged shoulders have to stay home. Little Pig's oldest brother gives him a piece of rope and a book of sailor's knots with which to practice while his siblings are away. On the bright side, Grandpa and Poppy have come over to show him the little ship that Poppy has started making for him. What ensues is a week of ship building and sailing fun for Little Pig and Poppy. One line of text at the top of each page moves the story while cartoon bubbles provide the conversation between Little Pig and Poppy. They finish the boat on Sunday and sail it in a stream the next five days. The big adventure finishes with a flourish on Saturday when a gust of wind blows the ship downstream. With the water being too deep, Little Pig watches from the bank as Poppy valiantly tries to catch up to the boat. As the little ship approaches a bridge, Little Pig remembers his brother's admonition and puts his rope into use to become the hero. Now he has a story to share with his brothers and sisters.

This is a sweet story where the smallest character is the hero. It's a classic underdog plot that is extremely appealing to young readers and writers. Speaking of writing, the Saturday sequence would be a fine text to mentor writers who are learning to write small moment stories. The cartoon bubbles provide another teaching opportunity. What's great about the sparse conversation is that it contains boating vocabulary (Four points off the bow; Batten down the hatches!). Some sponge-like brain in your class will ask about the terms so now you can talk about new vocabulary. I would even mention that pirates could have used these terms. Yet another fun classroom idea would be to use this book to work on learning the days of the week. Little Pig will sail into a harbor of kid appreciation as a classroom read aloud and/or bedtime story.

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