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A Piglet Named Mercy

Book review by
Angela Zimmerman, Common Sense Media
A Piglet Named Mercy Book Poster Image
Cute picture book origin story of popular series pig.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

This fun story is meant to entertain, but there's some light insight into parenting and relationships. 

Positive Messages

The acts of love and caretaking reap great rewards. Great joy can be found in bringing a child or pet into the family home. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Despite the aghast attitude of her sister Eugenia, neighbor Baby is full of wonder and love toward the little piglet. Mr. and Mrs. Watson immediately open their home and hearts to the new arrival and don't care that it's unconventional. There are, however, some dated stereotypes linked to Mr. and Mrs. Watson's gender roles -- for instance, Mr. Watson is shown washing the car and doing yard work, while Mrs. Watson is in a frilly apron, vacuuming and cleaning and doing other traditionally "female" activities. 

Violence & Scariness
Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that A Piglet Named Mercy is a picture book prequel to the popular Mercy Watson early reader series by bestselling author Kate DiCamillo. It tells the story of an ordinary couple named Mr. and Mrs. Watson who are bored by their suburban life and want something exciting to happen. When a piglet falls off a truck and makes his way to their front door, they're compelled to invite him into their home and family -- much to the chagrin of one cranky neighbor and the delight of another. The book has positive messages about love, acceptance, and embracing unconventional standards. 

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What's the story?

In A PIGLET NAMED MERCY, Mr. and Mrs. Watson live ordinary lives in an ordinary town. They spend their days tending to their home and yard and find themselves a bit bored (and boring) until one morning they open their front door to a new surprise -- a piglet! Despite the horrified reaction of their cranky old neighbor Eugenia, and with the love and support of her sister Baby, Mr. and Mrs. Watson invite the piglet into their family. Their lives would never be called "ordinary" again.

Is it any good?

With bright, funny illustrations and a simple, clear storyline, kids will be delighted by the story of how a piglet came into the home of a normal couple and changed their lives forever. A Piglet Named Mercy introduces preschoolers to the popular Mercy Watson books by bestselling author Kate DiCamillo. The next door neighbors -- sisters Eugenia and Baby -- add a comical dimension to the story, especially the bright-blue-hued Eugenia and the outrage she expresses over the piglet. Baby is a tender soul who immediately embraces Mercy and the Watson's decision to tend to her like a human baby of their own. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how adopting a stray animal looks in A Piglet Named Mercy. If an animal wandered up to your house, would you want to take it in? Would you treat it as a pet or a family member? What's the difference? 

  • Talk about Eugenia and her sister Baby's reactions to Mercy. Why is Eugenia horrified by the new addition to her neighbor's family? How does Baby feel?

  • Do you think Mercy is a good name for the piglet? Why or why not? What other names do you think would be a good fit for the little pig?

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