I was book shopping at the end of NCTE, looking for new books to take back to the classroom. I was stalking the MacMillan booth. Anticipating the the happy feeling of snatching some great new finds in three minutes. Three minutes passed and I starting snatching books, quickly because there were other snatchers getting good deals. I picked up Piggy Bunny by Rachel Vail because it was illustrated by Jeremy Tankard. I've been waiting to see more work from Jeremy Tankard since falling in love with his boo hoo bird and crew characters. Just as a picked it up a man came up asking nicely if he could have this book. He needed to take something home to his daughter. I've never felt this tug of war before I was here first, I waited around, you can't have the only copy and recent work of Jeremy Tankard. He walked away, I felt a twinge bad but I really wanted to bring home this pink pig on the front cover home and talked myself into being strong. He returned and explained his five year old daughter really loved pigs and wanted something from his trip that was a pig. How could a parent and kindergarten teacher said no to a child's passion? I gave him the book. He had been scouting it out from his vendor booth for four days. Then the nice woman, I wish I remembered her name thanked me for giving him the book. She had said she would hold it and forgot and offered to send me a complimentary copy. I gave her my address and just a couple of weeks ago had given up hope on receiving this book. It came yesterday. Jeremy Tankard's pink pig is mine!
Piggy Bunny is the story of a pig, Liam who has different dreams than growing up and being a pig. He wants to be the Easter Bunny. He practices hopping, trying to enjoy salad, and delivering eggs. His family isn't very supportive and loves Liam the way he is. When I read his parents encouraging words I was reminded of Chrysthanemum by Kevin Henkes. So reassuring and soothing. Everyone wants to stop trying being something he wasn't. He is heartbroken. As in real life, there is one person in Liam's life who supports him and helps encourage his passion.
The illustrations by Jeremy Tankard are charming, funny and adorable. A great mentor for showing kids how to illustrate movement. A great mentor for kids to see how the background color choice can make pink pigs pop. A great mentor for showing how a black outline defines an object or a character. I'm not sure how to word this way to use Jeremy Tankard as a mentor but his drawings are detailed but simplistic. They are not filled with fine lines and small details. Kids draw big and kids need mentors like him to guide them.
A huge shout out to the nice lady at the ncte MacMillan booth for reminding me good deeds are important and paying it forward does come full circle.
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