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Pig in the Pond
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PreS-Gr 2-- ``One day Neligan went into town. It was hot. It was dry. The sun shone in the sky. Neligan's pig sat by Neligan's pond.'' This book tells the story of how the pig finally cools off. After enviously watching the self-satisfied ducks and geese swimming around, she goes through some dainty preparation, then dives in with a ``SPLASH!'' that fills a double-page spread. When the farmer comes home, there is a tense moment while he surveys the scene, then joins the pig in the pond, followed by the other farm animals. Waddell conveys a wonderful sense of silliness. The well-spaced print and the repetition make the book appropriate for beginning readers, but it certainly succeeds as a read-aloud for preschoolers. The playful language, rhythmic but not rhymed, matches the mood of the tale perfectly, and the artwork is a delight. Done with watercolor and pencil, Barton's animals are especially endearing and incredibly expressive, considering how simply they are drawn. The pig's decision to dare to do something unusual (``She didn't go in, because pigs don't swim''), and Neligan's affirmation of that decision, are story elements that young children will relate to. --Lauralyn Persson, Wilmette Public Library, IL

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