A celebration of pigture books (and a CONTEST!)

Featured Books / News

We at Pen & Oink are fortunate to have the pig as our mascot, because let’s face it, children’s literature abounds with pigs. Wilbur. Olivia. Mercy Watson.

So, to celebrate our launch, we’re giving out a copy of a great pig book, Maurice Sendak’s Bumble-Ardy. Which piggie books do you love? Post an answer in the comments (please, don’t let’s all say Charlotte’s Web), and we’ll pick a winner at random! Deadline: this Thursday night, 8:00 pm, EST.

Here are some of our favorites!



One of my all time favorite books is The Amazing Bone by William Steig, so it was easy to pick as a favorite pig book. He is just incredible and leaves me speechless. It’s as if someone dared him to write the weirdest creepiest thing he could think of and make it loveable. A bone that talks? The ladylike illustrations of Pearl the pig protagonist in happy blossoming backgrounds helps balance out the creep factor. Amazing!


My other favorite pig book is Oink Oink, Benny by Barbro Lindgren, is illustrated by one of my all time favorite illustrators: Olof Landström.  Lindgen’s witty story takes us through Benny and his little brother disobeying their mother’s orders to stay away from the mud hole. I love the range of pigs friends they meet at the mud hole and the funny fact that there is a dog present among the pig-only crew. Landström’s illustrations are always so crisp and comical.



My hands-down favorite pig book—and one of my favorite picture books of all time—is Bumble-Ardy by Maurice Sendak. It’s one of my go-to books at bedtime.Maurice-Sendak-Bumble-Ardy-cover

There are so many great details in this book. I love the softness of the pencil line mixed with the watercolor, all the hand-drawn typography, and the mix of four-legged “regular” pigs with the clothed pigs that walk on two legs.

I also love the fact that the book is dark and weird. There are three full-page spreads of escalating mega-party in the middle of the book that are a total feast for the eyes. And Aunt Adeline goes ballistic in the end and practically transforms into a monster!

More on Bumble-Ardy from Maurice himself here:


I think my favorite pig book is We Are In A Book! by Mo Willems, which is about two friends, Gerald and Piggie, who, well, discover they’re in a book. I’m a big fan of metafictional picture books when they’re done right. But the thing that really knocks my socks off is Gerald’s hilarious yet profound existential crisis: “The book ends?!”



Another favorite is Arnold Lobel’s Small Pig. A small pig, much loved by the farmer and his wife, runs away to the city after the farmer’s wife overzealously cleans away his mud puddle. (Apparently women were still really enthusiastic about housework in the late sixties, when this book was published.)

It’s classic children’s book comedy, complete with Lobel’s deadpan clarity and punctuated with loving reassurance: “We think you are the best pig in the world.”

The (preseparated!) illustrations in Small Pig are printed in a simple palette of blue and yellow. This one, to the right, is easily my favorite. Look at that face! There’s a piggie who won’t put up with a bath, no sirree.

Plus, you have to love the groovy sixties flowers that find their way into the scenery. Arnold-Lobel-Small-Pig-2

Tell us about your favorite pig books!


  1. I never realized how many pig books are out there, until I tried searching for ones I “kind of” remembered. There are some great pig characters: Poppleton (Cynthia Rylant/Mark Teague), Toots and Puddle (Holly Hobbie), and Wibbly Pig (Mark Inkpen) are among those I love. But my favorite book lately is Benny’s Had Enough by Barbro Lindgren and Olaf Landstrom. Something about that Swedish pig with the attitude and binky is adorable.


  2. I like Charlotte’s Web, but since you said that I can’t say that I’ll go with Tomi Ungerer’s Mellops series. I find this family of daring French piggies very hard to resist (I could get lost in those drawings all day long). They really speak to the little boy in me. If I was a pig that’s the kind of pig I’d like to be.


  3. I really love the Toot and Puddle Books by Holly Hobbie. Such delicious illustrations! I also love Elephant and Piggie by Mo Willems, so funny and my kids love them. Olivia books by Ian Falconer are hilliarous also. Maybe these are all obvious, but I love them!


  4. I love the Toot and Puddle Books by Holly Hobbie, such delicous illustrations! I also love Elephant and Piggie by Mo Willems and Olivia books by Ian Falconer. Both of these are hillarious!


  5. I’m all about Olivia. Especially when she goes to the circus! 🙂


  6. Aimee Mak says

    The Three Pigs by David Wiesner–it’s a great spin on the original story and also integrates other famous children’s story characters. (nice job robin)


  7. Kristen says

    I’ve always had a soft spot for Sandra Boynton’s animals, including the pigs in Pajama Time!


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