- Mr. Pig's Big Wall by Glenn Hernández
Hernández, Glenn Mr. Pig's Big Wall; written and illus. by Glenn Hernández. Random House, 2020 [38p] Library ed. ISBN 978-1-5247-7207-9 $20.99 Trade ed. ISBN 978-1-5247-7206-2 $17.99 E-book ed. ISBN 978-1-5247-7208-6 $10.99 Reviewed from galleys R 4-7 yrs
Little Tortoise is extremely friendly and loves to play, in contrast to grumpy Mr. Pig, who "only loved his precious garden." Increasingly annoyed by Little Tortoise's intrusions, Mr. Pig begins to build a wall of bricks around his home: "I am building a big wall to keep you OUT!" Of course, the higher Mr. Pig builds his wall, the less sunlight his garden gets, and it dies; Little Tortoise, with her enthusiastic kindness, decides to "bring some sunshine to him" by tying herself to helium balloons and floating over the obstacle to deliver a flower poking out from under the wall. Pulling the flower rips a crack in the structure, however, and Mr. Pig teeters atop the crumbling wall; when Little Tortoise saves him by lifting him into the sky, he looks down to see "a world with no walls and no fences" and has a change of heart about Little Tortoise. While the political allegory is unsubtle, the storytelling has the classic feeling of a fable, with a moral about the importance of openness, kindness, and setting aside boundaries. Digital art depicts Little Tortoise as a sweet little critter, always sporting a giant, contagious smile and charmingly uneven teeth, and Mr. Pig as a grump in construction gear; smeary gradients clearly separate scenes with excessive greenery, the overwhelming red brick wall, and the shadowy post-wall garden. This could be useful either to make way for future conversations about the modern political environment or just as a tale about the downfall of those who isolate themselves and refuse to share.