When pigs fly

Dream Big, Little Pig

By Kristi Yamaguchi, illustrated by Tim Bowers
(Naperville, Ill.: Sourcebooks Inc. 2011, 32 pp., $16.99, hardcover)

Nikkei figure skating icon Kristi Yamaguchi is now a children’s book author. Her first book is “Dream Big, Little Pig.”

Young Poppy the pig aspires to be a ballerina, but soon discovers that she is not graceful. When her family and best friend comfort her and urge her to continue following her dreams, she next auditions for a spot in a chorus in the hopes of becoming a singing sensation. The judges reject her.

Buoyed once again by encouragement from her family, Poppy next tries to become a fashion model. Unsuccessful on the runway, she ponders giving up altogether.

Recalling her mother’s words, “Just follow your heart … we love you no matter what,” Poppy decides that spending time with those who love her is what she needs. On a family outing the next day she spots ice skaters spinning on an ice rink. Drawn by the beauty of their movement, Poppy walks straight up to the skating teacher to ask for lessons.

The reluctant teacher gives Poppy a chance to prove herself, and Poppy gives the skates a try, falling repeatedly until it was time for the rink to close. Back the next day, Poppy shows her determination in the succeeding days, eventually acquiring an audience of fans. Success at last!

Poppy next decides to become a pilot, a parachutist and a sky diver. Other pilots scoffed at her ambition saying, “When pigs fly!” The story ends with the statement that the pilots “did not know Poppy. She was a pig who dreamed big.”

Illustrator Tim Bowers uses cute, silly animals of all types as the characters in this book. Largely pastel, the animals’ facial expressions reflect the mood on each page. My favorite page shows Poppy the pig with fellow ballerinas, a frog, a goose, an otter, and a mouse, all in tutus.

This is appropriate for ages 4 and up.

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