(Scholastic Children’s Books)
Pig love living on his farm with his best friend duck, despite the presence of the Evil Chickens. He loves Farmer who keeps feeding him lots and lots of slops, and keeps calling him his favourite pet name “Roast Pig”. Pig has no idea what is afoot, until Duck breaks the awful news to him. Farmer is only fattening him up so he can slaughter him. Pig is desperate to get away and finds help from the most unlikely associates, the Evil Chickens, who have been designing a ‘trocket’ (a cross between a tractor and a rocket) and have been planning a maiden voyage to Pluto. They want Pig to be the pilot, and despite the Evil Chickens’ dubious motivation for doing this, Pig agrees in order to escape. Is there any hope that things will end well for him?
Imagine a mash-up of The Sheep Pig or Shaun the Sheep and Mr Gum, and you might have an inkling at how completely wacky The Unbelievable Top Secret Diary of Pig is. Between a pig who can write and chickens who design and build rockets, I am not quite sure which bit is the most batty, but it works. It is over the top, bizarre and funny, but children love that (which is why they Mr Gum so much) and with plenty of poo and fart jokes little readers will be in absolute hoots too.
Young readers love to be “in the know” and one step ahead of the characters and Pig’s clueless attitude to things offers plenty of opportunities for this to happen. The illustrated fiction format is used brilliantly here, and having the book written in diary form helps to make it accessible . While parents might frown at the rather unusual spellings and deliberate grammatical errors, it works well within the context and might actually prove to be encouraging for those children who might think that one needs to have perfect spelling in order to write a diary; this might even inspire them to start one.
This doodle-diary genre is definitely here to stay and this is a fun example for younger readers , and a great stepping stone for other titles aimed at slightly older children, such as Tom Gates.
Another plus point is it is rather lovely hardback packaging, which means The Unbelievable Top Secret Diary of Pig will make a lovely Christmas present.
Tomorrow, as part of the blog tour for The Unbelievable Top Secret Diary of Pig, I have been given the fantastic opportunity to ask Pig a few questions, so come back tomorrow for an insight in Pig’s life.
Source: review copy from publisher