The Unlikely Story of a Pig in the City
Jodi Kendall, Author
Harper Collins, Fiction, Oct. 3, 2017
Suitable for Ages: 8-11
Themes: Pigs, Animals, City Life, Gymnastics, Belonging, Family Relationships
Book Synopsis: Little pig. Big city. Lots of trouble. Josie Shilling feels invisible. Her family is too big, their cramped city house is too small, and her parents are always distracted.
Then, on Thanksgiving Day, her older brother, Tom, brings home a pink, squirmy bundle wrapped in an old football jersey — a piglet he rescued from a nearby farm. Her name is Hamlet.
The minute Josie holds Hamlet, she feels an instant connection. But there’s no room for Hamlet in the crowded Shilling household. And who ever heard of keeping a pig in the city? So it’s up to Josie to find her a forever home.
But taking care of Hamlet makes Josie feel special when she usually feels overlooked in a family with five children. And there’s something about Hamlet that reminds Josie of herself.
Why I like this book:
Move over Wilbur, Hamlet’s going to steal your heart. Jodi Kendall’s debut novel is a heartwarming and rollicking story about the unlikely bond between a girl and a piglet runt. Her story is loosely based on her childhood experience of owning a pet pig and finding it a home.
Hamlet arrives in time to boost eleven-year-old Josie’s self-esteem and give her purpose. At home she feels unnoticed. At gymnastics Josie feels like a freakish giant when all she wants to be is a really great gymnast. Josie’s bond with Hamlet boosts her spirit and helps her find courage and determination.
Readers will enjoy hanging out with Josie, Hamlet and all the Shillings. There are her friends, Lucy from gymnastics, and the Three Stoops gang, who work together to create a plan for finding Hamlet a home. The clock is ticking, Hamlet is growing, and Josie and her friends have until New Year’s Day to find a home for Hamlet.
There is heart, connection, humor and unexpected plot twists. After all, Hamlet is a one smart pig who learns quickly to use a litter box, fetch a flying Frisbee, open the fridge door, and climb the bunk-bed ladder. Although this pig causes a lot of mayhem, he unites Josie’s family during some challenging times. Readers will cheer for Hamlet! Verdict: It’s a winner!
Fans of this piglet story will be delighted to know that there will be a sequel in the fall of 2018. Visit Jodi Kendall on her website.
Resources: The author has included a curriculum guide on her website for activities and classroom discussions.
Jodi Kendall grew up in the Midwest with her family of seven and their household of countless pets, including hamsters, ducks, dogs, rabbits, an iguana, and, yes . . . even a farm pig! You can find Jodi typing away at home in New York City, where she’s still an animal lover at heart. Jodi holds an MFA from the University of Arizona and is an active member of SCBWI. Visit Jodi at her website.
Greg Pattridge is hosting Marvelous Middle Grade Monday posts on his wonderful Always in the Middle website. Author Shannon Messenger has been on a whirlwind tour promoting her sixth book, Nightfall, in the Keeper of the Lost Cities series, which was released November 7. Thank you Greg for keeping the MMGM family together!