Big Book Format
Pigs don’t swim, or so it’s said. But on one of the hottest days of the summer, the pig on Neligan’s farm sits by the pond feeling envious of the ducks and the geese floating in the cool water. Finally, when she can endure the heat no longer-splash!-this sweltering pig takes a dive, throwing the entire farm into an uproar. It isn’t long, however, before the refreshing idea catches on, and the pig finds that she’s got company! This spirited tale with its exuberant illustrations is sure to be a hit with all those young and old who ever wanted to take the plunge.
When Neligan’s pig decides to take a swim in a pond, he jumps into the water and produces a big splash, so big a splash that the ducks and geese are splashed out of the pond. Animals from all around come to see the sight, including Neligan, who decides to disrobe and join the pig. At the end of the story, all of the animals jump into the pond. This story has several weaknesses. The sequence of events is labored. The pictures tell most of the story, and the text seems choppy and contrived. The plot has potential, but the characters, especially the pig and Neligan, are not developed. Most of all, the text lacks appeal and seems somewhat disconnected from the illustrations. A sample of children from the intended audience found it to be boring. They did not find it to be a comedy as is advertised on the jacket.
School Library Journal
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