Because of Winn-Dixie , the Newbery Honor-winning debut of Kate DiCamillo, has made such a splash into popular culture that one can even purchase a plush "Winn-Dixie" toy. Her new character Mercy, the "porcine wonder," may be next in the popularity line. Certainly children will relate to this lovable porker, her relentless pursuit of "hot toast with a great deal of butter" and her ability to allow this narrow focus to lead her blindly into unforeseen situations (that, fortunately for her, inadvertently make her into the town hero). Actor-turned-writer Ron McLarty does an excellent job of narrating Mercy's adventures. His voice carries just the right balance of a knowing but friendly authority who himself is charmed by the overly enthusiastic Mercy. His years as a voiceover talent serve him well, allowing him to conjure up wonderful voices for all of the characters. Particularly fun is his cartoonish public official voice for Officer Tomillelo, whose internal dialogue goes like this: "Have laws been broken here? Most certainly, laws have been broken here." Ages 6-9. (June)[Page 70]. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
K-Gr 2 Kate DiCamillo, the Newbery award-winning author best known for her novels for older children, has recently written short chapter books for the younger crowd starring a lively pig named Mercy Watson. Mercy lives in the house with her doting owners who treat her like their own child, singing her lullabies and making sure she is adequately supplied with her favorite foodâ€"buttered toast. The sisters who live next door are split on whether Mercy is a good or a bad neighbor (rather like the Wilsons and Dennis the Menace.) In Mercy Watson to the Rescue (Candlewick, 2005), Mercy goes for help and saves her family when their bed fall through a hole, more from accident than intent. Mercy indulges herself in Mercy Watson Goes for a Ride (Candlewick, 2006) as she takes the wheel of the car and tries a little driving, much to the surprise of a local police officer. The stories, ably performed by Ron McLarty, stand on their own without need of background music or sound effects. Each tale is gently humorous, and children will grin at Mercyâ€™s adventures, and then probably head to the kitchen for their own well-buttered toast.Teresa Bateman, Brigadoon Elementary School, Federal Way, WA[Page 70]. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Gr 1-3--Mercy Watson, porcine wonder, stars in these two amusing tales by Kate DiCamillo about an insatiable pig, her bumbling owners, and bizarre neighbors. The first story, Mercy Watson Thinks Like a Pig (2008), finds Mercy devouring the tasty pansies as they are planted by her elderly neighbors. Animal Control is called, and a chase scene in the manner of Keystone Kops ensues. All ends well as toast with a great deal of butter on it saves the day. Mercy Watson: Something Wonky This Way Comes (2009, both Candlewick), the better of the two tales, features a drive-in movie, a pig on the loose, bottomless buckets of popcorn with a great deal of butter on it, and more mayhem. Ron McLarty's narration is somewhat plodding and almost patronizing in the first tale, but he finds his pace and goofy voice styling in the second story. Have the books available so beginning readers can peruse Chris Van Dusen's illustrations that capture the fun of Mercy's escapades. A good choice for beginning readers, these stories would also adapt well to a readers theater production.--Lonna Pierce, MacArthur Elementary School, Binghamton, NY[Page 61]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.