Monday, May 24, 2010

Ham Heroes: Pigs to the Rescue by John Himmelman

On Monday, the tractor broke down. Farmer Greenstalk couldn't plow the field.


"Um, thank you. I think," said Farmer Greenstalk.

In the sequel to his hilarious Chickens to the Rescue (Henry Holt, 2006), John Himmelman returns to Greenstalk Acres for a bit of swine slapstick, Pigs to the Rescue (Henry Holt, 2010).

Not to outdone by a flock of paltry poultry, the porkers decide that when the Greenstalks need help, it's time for the ham-hocked heroes to take charge. John Deere broke down? A pig brigade, with shovels and spades dig cornrows so deep only their snouts are above ground. Leak in the missus' garden hose? Hogs hurry in to douse her flower bed with a whole plastic wading pool full of the wet stuff. Little Jeffrey's kite stuck in a tree? A pyramid of porkers pile up to pull it down, shredding the kite in the process. Caleb the Rooster too hoarse to cock-a-doodle-doo in the A.M.? The Greenstalks are treated to a chorus of "GRUNT!" SQUEAL!" "OINK! OINK!" at sunup. All week it's pigs to the rescue, and the folks on the farm come to cringe when any problem arises for fear of a sudden onslaught of swine salvation.

And then on Sunday, Lulu the Cat spills her bowl of milk all over the kitchen floor.

"Shhhhhh!" the Greenstalks said. "Don't let the pigs know." Everyone froze and listened.

"That was close!" said Mrs. Greenstalk. "Thank goodness the pigs didn't find out about this one!"

But John Himmelman gets the last laugh on the Greenstalks. Unnoticed in the corner of the kitchen window, just visible, is the muzzle of a nosy cow. And on the next double-page spread we see a bevy of benefactor bovines, udders swinging as they hustle to the house, hauling milk in a huge washtub, a bowl, a jug, and even a baby bottle.


John Himmelman specializes in farmyard humor, and his latest Greenstalk Acres saga is sure to delight young fans of countrified comedy. The text is simple, but the double-page spreads of plump pigs as a devoted emergency rescue squad will keep kids cackling right through the clever surprise ending.

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