Pig Pig Gets a Job by David McPhail


I was fascinated by this book – Pig Pig Gets a Job. I mean, it’s always tough to find a good job – especially in this economy – but in this case, the job-seeker is a small, talking pig!  He wears red overalls, and he’s very enthusiastic, but he also seems young and inexperienced. I’m getting paid to write this review – but who’s ever going to pay poor little Pig Pig?

The animals in David McPhail’s books always remind me of Beatrix Potter’s characters. They lead simple human lives, in cozy houses, facing problems with a mix of confidence and confusion. So I genuinely enjoyed the idea of a children’s book studying a problem we live with every day – the stress of earning a living. Maybe “Pig Pig Gets a Job” would be a good gift for father’s day, I thought…

“I want some money. I want to buy something,” Pig Pig tells his mother.  When she asks him what, he replies. “I don’t know yet. But something.” Behind the ambitious pig character is a grown-up author who’s probably smiling slyly at our whole society. And when his mother suggests that he can earn money by getting a job, the pig puts his paw to his chin and starts to consider it…

The pig never gets a job – he is too young and inexperienced – but each page shows the pig imagining himself in new possible careers. The pig sees himself as a chef – since he’s so good at making mud pies – and as a builder (using the hammer he’s just received for his birthday). One illustration shows the pig working as an auto repairman – by wielding a sledgehammer –  and another shows him driving a bulldozer at the dump. In one picture the pig’s dressed as the ringleader at the circus. But turn the page and he’s back in his living room talking excitedly to his mother. “I have a great idea! You could give me a job!”

This book reminds me of the episode of “Seinfeld” where George tries to find his way to a new job by being hopelessly unrealistic, saying “I like sports… I could be a sports announcer….” But as I understand it, there’s a whole series of books about this daydreaming pig. David McPhail also wrote Edward and the Pirates, which my friend Richard swears is one of his favorite children’s books. But Pig Pig adds a charming simplicity to McPhail’s stories – which is at least a starting point for funny adventures.

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