Books for Kids: The Unbelievable Top Secret Diary of Pig

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The Unbelievable Top Secret Diary of Pig
by Emer Stamp
Scholastic Canada
192 pages
age 8-12

Synopsis from Scholastic Canada:

Pig is troubled. Usually, life on the Farm is pretty good. He has yummy slops, a true friend in Duck, mud to roll in, and Farmer to scratch his back and call him Roast Pig (his special nickname). But the Evil Chickens are up to something evil, involving a tractor-rocket. And Duck has something else to show his porcine friend: a shed where Farmer prepares to eat Pig for dinner! What can Pig do? If he goes in the Chickens’ trocket, he might run out of slops. If he stays, he’ll become sausages and bacon. But if Pig and Duck can come up with a plan that involves the chicken house, the trocket, some itchy sheep, and an imaginary fox — maybe they can fix the Farm . . . or maybe they’ll land in even more trouble.

Fans of Captain Underpants or Diary of a Wimpy Kid will probably enjoy The Unbelievable Top Secret Diary of Pig. Although the book is light on the images, it reads more like a graphic novel. The hand written font treatment, along with a few child-like sketches and random ink blotches, adds to the illusion that you are reading Pig’s secret diary. Even the story reads more like a recap of your friends mishaps versus a traditional tale.

As Pig isn’t fluent in speaking or writing English, something he professes up front, the grammer and writing style is quite juvenile. At first I struggled with reading the story because of how the language is treated but after my personal experience around learning French (and how I’m probably butchering the language when I speak or write) I can understand this writing decision. Language used in a book helps us to understand a character. It may not be on your list of read-out-loud books but the kids will probably enjoy the story. My two often share inside jokes about the language used in Captain Underpants so I would expect the same with The Unbelievable Top Secret Diary of Pig.

Along with an entertaining and somewhat quick read, the story illustrates a great example of friendship. Pig and Duck seem like an unlikely pair but they complement each other perfectly. Both would do anything to help the other. Not a bad takeaway from a story.

Here’s an edited version of my Wednesday Periscope. Be sure to join me every Wednesday at 2 p.m. ET where I’ll highlight that week’s book pick. Also please leave a comment below letting me know any books your kids are interested in so I can keep them in mind for future reviews.

Additional Charlie Joe Jackson’s Guide to Not Reading.

You can find a copy of The Unbelievable Top Secret Diary of Pig from Scholastic Canada or your local bookstore. Visit our Kid’s Books section for other great book recommendations.

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