Saturday, December 25, 2010

Reader's Diary #673- Jean Little and illustrated by Werner Zimmerann: Pippin the Christmas Pig

When it comes to picture books I'm not crazy about overly saccharine stories or soft, overly emotional paintings. I prefer funny any day.

But at Christmas my sweetness tolerance is ever so slightly higher than usual and much is forgiven.

Though Jean Little and Werner Zimmerman's Pippin the Christmas Pig couldn't be classified as a humorous book by any means, and though there is a warm and fuzzy message, I didn't have to try too hard to forgive it.

Pippin, a curious young pig, asks his barnyard companions what Christmas is, and through the recounting of the nativity story, the donkey, cow, sheep, and pigeon each brag about the gifts their ancestors brought baby Jesus on the night he was born. The pig, teased by the others and sad that there was no mention of a pig (because, after all, "what could pigs have given a holy child?"), takes off into the stormy night. Along the way he encounters a woman carrying a baby and leads her back to the barn for safety.

I admit, when I read to young kids I love books with a lot of voices, so I appreciated the characters and the rich personalities Zimmerman infused in his renditions. And, of course, most kids love talking animals so it was quite an engaging way of retelling the nativity story and wonderful of Little that she didn't merely recount the night, but managed to keep the message in tact.

As an adult, I appreciated the mystery of the woman and her baby, wandering through the snow with a baby on Christmas Eve. What a sad circumstance, and though one safe night in a barn would probably not eradicate the problems that may have led her to such an unfortunate predicament, the momentary reprieve and gesture of the pig might just awaken a glimmer of hope. Nice.

Merry Christmas everyone.

3 comments:

Megan said...

Merry Christmas, John!

gypsysmom said...

Sweet is good at Christmas. Have a wonderful time with your family.

Nicola said...

Merry Christmas, John, to you and yours!