Friday 6 August 2021

Pig the Monster

Pig the Monster by Aaron Blabey (Scholastic) RRP $17.99 ISBN 9781760979010

Reviewed by Nean McKenzie

Pig the Pug returns in a book about Halloween. Well, to be precise, a book about what Pig the ‘Monster’ does on Halloween. Barely recognisable in a range of costumes including Frankenstein, a spider, a werewolf, and a mummy, Pig rampages the neighbourhood for sweets. When he doesn’t get what he wants, he takes revenge, playing tricks on people. Basically, he behaves very badly. Staying true to his former reputation, he then binges his overload of goodies with quite disastrous (and messy!) consequences. 

Pig’s naughtiness is captured humorously in the illustrations, his gleeful expression always present except for at the end where he sits, looking very unimpressed next to a ‘modest buffet’. Trev the dachshund, is dressed as a unicorn in a pink leotard, which is wonderful. Trev then saves the day which produces the most alarming illustration – the ‘warm chocolate soup’ which emerges from Pig’s mouth, and heads towards a bunch of wide-eyed onlookers.

The rhyming verse includes great words like ‘unhinged’, ‘gluttonous’, and ‘unprecedented’ (rhymed with ‘tormented’). A lovely turning point in the text is when Trev warns, ‘Dogs Can’t Eat Chocolate’. But of course, Pig doesn’t listen. The question is asked at the end: ‘He really is nicer. And much kinder too. An old dog learned new tricks?’ The illustration on the last page suggests maybe not … 

This is the seventh Pig the Pug book from Australian author and number #1 New York Times best-seller Aaron Blabley who has around 20 million books in print including his The Bad Guys series and Thelma the Unicorn. His latest, Pig the Monster is fun to read aloud and suitable for preschool to early primary children. It should also give the adults reading it a bit of a giggle and do especially well around Halloween.

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