I love Jennifer Sattler's Sylvie, so I was happy to give her newest picture book a look. Pig Kahuna is about a pig named Fergus, who spends time on the beach with his baby brother Dink. Fergus and Dink collect objects washed up from the surf, but steer clear of the "lurking, murky ickiness" of the water. Until, that is, a surfboard winds up in their collection. And it turns out that surfboards, while ok for playing games in the sand, really come into their own in the ocean.
I LOVE the illustrations in Pig Kahuna. Fergus is priceless, with his slightly nervous smile, expressive ears, and Hawaiian outfit. Sattler's use of acrylics with colored pencils means that all of the backgrounds are lightly textured, in a way sure to make young kids want to stroke the pages. This works especially well given that there is water and sand on every page. My favorite picture is of the surfboard (named Dave), standing up in the sand with seaweed hair, a rock for an eye, and a shell for a mouth. This strikes just the right note of ridiculous. I also like Fergus' look of triumph when he realizes "I surfed!". I challenge anyone seeing this to not smile. Dink is pretty cute, too, especially when he decides that Dave "should be wild! And free!"
There is a pretty clear message in Pig Kahuna about overcoming fears and trying new things. And regular readers of this blog know that I loathe books that are message-y. But Pig Kahuna isn't a message driven book. It's a character driven book, about two irresistible young pigs, who happen to discover that the ocean, once you get over it being a bit scary, is actually pretty cool.I like Pig Kahuna a lot.
I recommend Pig Kahuna for 3 to 8 year olds, especially for kids who need a bit of extra encouragement before trying new things. It's a perfect read for the start of the summer, or to read before a trip to the ocean (though parents should to be prepared to explain why their four-year-old can't have a surfboard just yet). This would also be a good choice as a follow-up read after watching Lilo and Stitch. Happy summer!
Publisher: Bloomsbury (@BloomsburyPub)
Publication Date: May 24, 2011
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher
© 2011 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. All Amazon links in this post are affiliate links, and may result in my receiving a small commission on purchases (with no additional cost to you).