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Dick King-Smith said, "Each time I sit down to write an animal story, I say to myself, 'What sort of animal?' and I answer, 'Pig!' Then I say, 'No, no, you've just done a pig story.' So I have to wait. And I have waited. And then along came LADY LOLLIPOP!" Jill Barton left school at the age of sixteen and did all sorts of odd jobs until she married, had children, and stopped working outside the home. She attended art school and graduated at the age of forty-eight with a degree in illustration. Jill Barton has illustrated numerous award-winning books for children, such as WHAT BABY WANTS by Phyllis Root, and the much-beloved In the RAIN WITH BABY DUCK; YOU'RE THE BOSS, BABY DUCK!; OFF TO SCHOOL, BABY DUCK!; and BABY DUCK AND THE BAD EYEGLASSES, all written by Amy Hest.
King-Smith's sprightly confection dresses up a standard-issue plot with amusing, old-fashioned storytelling. Spoiled, willful and insufferably rude, young Princess Penelope is "a right pain in the neck," as the palace courtiers and servants agree. Her parents, especially her father, seem bent on indulging her every whim, however, and when Penelope insists on a pet pig for her eighth birthday ("I wanna pig, I wanna pig, I wanna pig!"), they reluctantly summon all the pig keepers in the land. To her parents' dismay, the princess chooses "the scruffiest, ugliest pig of the lot." Lollipop may not be comely, but "she's the brightest, cleverest pig you ever did see," as her keeper, Johnny Skinner, assures the royal family, an assertion that quickly proves correct. Before long, the boy and his charge have charmed not only the king and queen (who is delighted with Lollipop's skill at weeding and fertilizing the rose garden), but more importantly, the princess herself, who, in the process of helping to train Lollipop, learns a few lessons about manners and friendship. Beginning or reluctant readers will appreciate that the tale is served up in a dozen short chapters, which Barton's (the Baby Duck books) line illustrations mine for all their innocent charm. Ages 7-10. (June) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Gr 2-4-Spoiled Princess Penelope's parents give her the pig she demands as a present for her eighth birthday. And, luckily enough for the child and her royal but ineffective parents, the endearing animal is accompanied by young Johnny Skinner, an amiable pig-keeper determined to teach the family something about manners and good sense. King-Smith's abundant affection for pigs and sure hand with dialogue keep the story buoyant, and the happy ending is never in doubt. Lollipop adapts to palace life quite quickly, thanks to Johnny's good training, and she even has a flap in the palace door so that she can get out as necessity dictates. Barton's pencil illustrations are charming and recall Ernest H. Shepard's various royal personages in A. A. Milne's Now We Are Six. The king's befuddled face and Penelope's stormy looks are delightful. Lollipop is shown with a sweetly confident expression as she goes about her pig activities, including happily depositing a bit of fertilizer on the queen's roses. The cover is inviting, and the book is handsomely designed with an open and readable typeface. An appealing read-aloud for younger children and a satisfying chapter book for those a little older.-Kathie Meizner, Montgomery County Public Libraries, Chevy Chase, MD Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
"The author of Babe, the Gallant Pig offers another winner with this tale of a bright pig and her canny young keeper 'training' a spoiled princess.... Move over, Wilbur."