cover image Pignic


Matt Phelan. Greenwillow, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-06-244339-7

What’s the difference between a picnic and a pignic, aside from the latter’s predominance of porcine participants? With the simplest of texts and lighthearted, luminous watercolors, Phelan (What Are You Waiting For?) lets readers find parallels between their own outdoor festivities and those of his characters. Both bring out the best in everyone—the episodic structure features a handful of “uh-oh” moments, which are neatly and cheerfully resolved (a blue wolf who seems intent on eating the piglets has a change of heart and uses his huffing and puffing to help them fly a kite). The pigs wait out a sudden rainstorm in a tight, soaked huddle—a meteorologically and emotionally evocative watercolor, rendered in stormy streaks of brown and gray—and perk up when they realize that they’re left with a family-size mud puddle. “What a perfect day for a pignic!” concludes Phelan, as the happily muddied pigs head home. More than a few readers will wish that their own picnics could end in a similarly messy manner, and even more will adore the easygoing exuberance of Phelan’s story. Ages 4–8. Agent: Rebecca Sherman, Writers House. (Mar.)