Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Pansy War: Mercy Watson Thinks Like a Pig by Kate DiCamillo

"Baby," said Eugenia, "we live next door to a pig."

"Yes, Sister, we do."

"But that doesn't stop us from living a gracious life," said Eugenia.

"It doesn't?" said Baby.

Eugenia handed Baby a shovel. "We are going to beautify our yard," Eugenia said. "We are going to plant pansies. We will live a gracious life if it kills us."

The steadfast Lincoln sisters are determined to keep up appearances even though their neighbors, the Watson, persist in pampering their portly pet pig, Mercy.

Mercy's interest in pansies, however, is strictly gustatory, and when Eugenia Lincoln discovers Mercy with pansy petals all over her face instead of blooming in the garden, she escalates her war against the pansy-picking porker by calling in the big guns--THE ANIMAL CONTROL OFFICER--in the personage of Officer Francine Poulet.

"Got yourself a rabid dog?" inquires Francine.

"Well, no," says Eugenia.

"Raccoon in your trash? Squirrel in your chimney? Snake in your toilet?" questions Francine.

"I beg your PARDON!" responds Eugenia.

While Francine motors over to begin her investigation, Mercy Watson is invited to a sumptuous-sounding tea party by neighbor kids Frank and Stella, who offer eclairs and enchilados, pancakes and cream puffs, if only Mercy will wear her best hat to the tea. Soon, however Mercy, hat on head, finds to her sorrow that the proffered tea treats are all imaginary.

"Would you like some more?" offers Stella.

"Some more of WHAT?" wonders Mercy Watson.

It all comes down to an arresting attack from the air as Officer Francine Poulet, doing forward observation from a nearby tree, falls headfirst into the virtual tea party and valiantly rallies to collar poor Mercy for malicious mischief.

As always, the Watsons, ever clueless regarding their pampered pet, see Francine as a heroine who has returned their missing pig and treats the entire cast of characters to their trademark treat, a hot-buttered toast tea party of their own.

From Winn Dixie to Despereaux to Mercy Watson, Kate DeCamillo's animal characters are nothing if not unique, and her fourth book in the Mercy Watson beginning chapter series, Mercy Watson Thinks Like a Pig (Mercy Watson) is another fine swine saga delightfully illustrated by Chris Van Dusen's drawings of that porcine princess Mercy Watson, doing just what she does best--eating buttered toast!

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home