July 19, 2012

Piggy Bunny

by Rachel Vail
Illustrated by Jeremy Tankard
Feiwel and Friends (Macmillan Imprint)
Distributed in Canada by Raincoast Books
32 pp.
Ages 5-8

Liam is a well-loved piglet in a family of pigs who all know exactly what they are: pigs.  But, Liam aspires to be the Easter Bunny.  He practises hopping, eating salad and delivering Easter eggs, and he seems to be improving.

But, as much as his siblings and parents tell him that he's perfect and has all the attributes of a great pig, Liam can't see himself as anything but a springtime hare.  Luckily, his grandparents have the imagination and internet skills to help him manifest the Easter Bunny within.

Canadian illustrator Jeremy Tankard's characters are so distinct that, even when they are the basis for a picture book by an American author, Rachel Vail, and published in the U.S. (thankfully distributed in Canada by Raincoast Books), they define the book.

Children will recognize Piggy Bunny as a a close relation to the assorted animals in Grumpy Bird (Scholastic, 2007) and Boo Hoo Bird (Scholastic, 2009), such as Raccoon, Bird, and Beaver  displayed above.  Piggy Bunny comes from a patent line of strongly outlined creatures, heavily inked to delineate their simple forms, just as with Liam and the cat below.
The story is straightforward, the illustrations seemingly effortless, and the bold colours alluring in their use in the pages' designs.  The coupling of text that champions individuality with artwork that is itself unique will help little ones accept the concept of being oneself and enjoying the esteem that comes with it.

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On the CanLit for LittleCanadians Book Trailers, I've posted MacmillanChildrens upload to YouTube of Jeremy Tankard illustrating Piggy Bunny.  Check it out here.

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