Reviews for Pig Who Went Home on Sunday : An Appalachian Folktale


ForeWord Magazine Reviews 2004 November/December
In this twist on a nineteenth-century version of the three little pigs story, Mama Pig notices that her children have grown too big for their cave. She tells Tommy he must leave, and stuffs a wheelbarrow with items he'll need for the world. She waves goodbye with a warning and a plea: "If you have to build a house, build it out of rocks and bricks. And please come home to see your Mama on Sunday!" Tommy pushes his wheelbarrow into the colorful countryside. Soon, he sees--not a big, bad wolf, but an Appalachian red fox! The fox persuades the pig to ignore his Mama's advice to build a brick house, and later, "Gulp!" The fox has pork for supper. Tommy doesn't go home on Sunday. Mama sends the next pig out with a wheelbarrow. Soon the fox persuades this pig to ignore his Mama's advice. The result: "Gulp!" The fox has pork for supper. Before Mama can thrust her final little pig, Jackie, into the cold-hearted world, the enterprising tyke takes matters into his own hands. He packs his own sack full of shoes, saucepans, and a butter churn, and heads out into the colorful countryside. Will Jackie meet success? Will he outwit the fox? Will he make it home on Sunday? In the end, Jackie shows resourcefulness and maturity, and gets to see his Mama again. The author is a highly acclaimed professional storyteller who was raised in Appalachia and has been featured at the World's Fair, the Smithsonian Institution, the National Storytelling Festival, and as guest host on National Public Radio's "Good Evening." He has published several children's books, short stories and novels for young adults, and recordings of his storytelling. This book is his adaptation of a Victorian folktale, first written by Andrew Lang and published in London in 1892, in which all three pigs outlive the vicious fox, despite the mistakes made by the first two. Davis honors his own grandmother with this version, explaining in the afterword that she disliked how the historical tale "taught children that they could do the wrong thing and still get away with it." The illustrator has previously created art for I Know What You Do When I Go to School and Little Johnny Buttermilk: After an Old English Folktale. Here, she uses a rich watercolor palette to create wonderfully luscious pigs whose curvaceous lines link rhythmically with the earth's curves and the fattened forms of the stars, moons, heat, and smoke. Her designs leap from the page, energetically expressing the memorable layers of this tale. Davis's silly pigs get their due. But Jackie, who listens to Mama and also exercises his own will and imagination, survives. And so, too, will this story as families enjoy it over the years. Copyright 2004 ForeWord Reviews.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2005 Spring
Davis, a well-known Appalachian storyteller, has set down his version of the "Three Little Pigs," based on his grandmother's telling of the cautionary tale. Only one pig brother escapes the clutches of the fox, because only he listens to his mother's instructions to build a house of rocks and bricks. Detailed, expressive paintings depict a rural southern setting. Copyright 2005 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2004 July #1
A red fox is the villain in this variant of "The Three Little Pigs." Mother pig sends each of her pigs off to build their own home while reminding them to "come home and visit on Sunday." This cautionary tale succeeds as each of the pigs go off to build their own homes. But instead of heeding the advice of their mother, the first two listen to the cunning suggestion of the fox and are promptly eaten. The third pig builds his house of bricks and when the fox arrives the pig shows that he can be more cunning than the fox. In the end the watercolors show a portly pig carrying flowers home to his mother on Sunday. There's no huffing and puffing here but enough plot twists to bring smiles to young readers. (Picture book/folktale. 4-8) Copyright Kirkus 2004 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2004 July #2
"If you have to build a house, build it out of rocks and bricks. And please come home and see your mama on Sunday." With this sage advice, Mama Pig sends her three little pigs out into the world. But the first two listen to a sly fox with dangerously spiky hair, who sells them on cornstalks and hay instead. Not surprisingly, they're eaten up with an enormous "Gulp!" In his variation on The Three Little Pigs, Davis spins a cautionary tale about heeding the words of grown-ups. The first two pigs pay the price of ignoring Mama's wisdom; the third chubby porker, Jackie, erects a solid home. At this point the plot line loses momentum as Jackie veers from savvy to gullible. He lets the fox into his home, inexplicably slamming the door on the animal's neck and tail, and only later realizes "he was the very thing the fox was planning to eat." Jackie does ultimately outfox his tricky stalker and makes it home for Sunday supper, but the uninflected writing and heavy-handed message, coupled with Mazzucco's (Little Johnny Buttermilk) flat illustrations in a muddy palette, may well have kids wishing for the classic's huffing and puffing wolf. Ages 4-7. (July) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2004 August
K-Gr 4-This charming version of "The Three Little Pigs" weaves mountain wisdom into a readable story with just the right amount of repetition for sharing aloud. Mama Pig sends out her youngsters one by one with the admonition, "Now, let me tell you two things: If you have to build a house, build it out of rocks and bricks. And please come home and see your mama on Sunday." Needless to say, a slick-suited, fast-talking fox hoodwinks the first two pigs and then swallows each of them in one gulp. The last pig builds a brick house. The fox manages to talk his way in, but he's so tired from the effort that he falls asleep by the fireplace. This pig cleverly figures out a way to get rid of the predator and makes it to Mama's house on Sunday. The illustrations are big and bright with scenery that echoes the Appalachian Mountains. Blue skies dance with shooting stars and billowy smoke. There are painterly brush strokes evident in the fox, which add to his shifty nature. An endnote relates an entertaining personal anecdote about the story and provides a brief explanation of its history. A fine addition to folktale collections.-Linda M. Kenton, San Rafael Public Library, CA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

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