The Unbelievable Top Secret Diary of Pig by Emer Stamp
|The Unbelievable Top Secret Diary of Pig by Emer Stamp|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: John Lloyd|
|Summary: A bright and bold book that has the audacity to have a very farty pig on a spaceship and still make sense. If that doesn't appeal, I don't know what will.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 192||Date: October 2013|
You is looking for the funniest, most bizarre-looking but adventurous book for the under-tens, but you is also looking for a book you will have a great big beaming smile from reading as an adult. You is going to be most satisfied with this really, really fun and funny book designed as the diary of a farmyard pig, called Pig, who is best friends with a duck called Duck, but who is not friends with the Evil Chickens. The Evil Chickens are Evil and are also making a space rocket, which they prefer pigs to fly. Duck is intelligent, and knows that when Farmer and Mrs Farmer are feeding Pig so many slops it is because they wants Pig for the pot – yes, Pig is expendable. But he is a lucky Pig because he can avoid the pot by obeying the Evil Chickens and taking the space rocket to Pluto.
Sorry; you have to understand that however I try, whenever I attempt to mimic the unique voice and style of a book – certainly one as good as this – I fail. The real thing is something like the above, but ten times better – the quirky lack of grammar, the jovial diary entries of Pig, and the sheer exuberance of both the telling and the imagination involved in the plot are on every page and are a sheer delight. I was not joking when I said that adults will take to this.
The young will take to it too, although it is very rough-and-ready and will not serve as a first book – for something so brief, lively and sheer fun it will have to be an experienced reader to take it all in. It just looks too random, too odd and too unusual for some emergent readers or those struggling with their literacy to cope with. For one thing, it’s in blue ink. For another, all the pages are peppered with tiny fun cartoons, but peppered in a random style – throughout, this book really tries to kick against the old-school. For another thing, every animal here is mentioned in its own unique font, which really adds a sort of, er, something to proceedings. I'm not sure what, but whatever it is it is not without charm.
Charm is certainly to the fore. Pig and Duck have a good friendship – even if Pig spends a lot of time thinking Farmer is the best thing since sliced slops, they are a great partnership. This has the bounce and enervation to make what would be a twee story of farmyard animals' animosity towards each other still be very, very charming, yet take any cutesy twee attitude firmly away. Did I mention how many times Pig lets rip with a stinking fart? I didn't? Well, is it OK if I mention that they are important to the plot, and they're not just there to appeal to the baser levels of humour of some children? I know, just a couple of weeks away from me writing this, some learned author moaned about farts and bottoms and rude things being all over too many children's titles. And I know some teachers and adults will despair at the lack of human grammar in the unique style of Pig. But I don't care. Pig, Monty Python characters and I all fart in their general direction. This is exuberant, this is clever, this is audacious and for every unsavoury note it has warmth, humour and just brilliance to counter it. So I'm happy to read about mountains of poo in this company, and I am sure you will be to, if you allow such a thing to happen.
I must thank the publishers for my review copy.
Doctor Proctor's Fart Powder by Jo Nesbo and its sequels are along similar farty lines. If you just want fun with farmyard animals - now, now - we loved The Warrior Sheep Go Jurassic by Christopher Russell and Christine Russell.
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You can read more book reviews or buy The Unbelievable Top Secret Diary of Pig by Emer Stamp at Amazon.com.
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