Mercy Watson to the Rescue: Mercy Watson, Book 1 Book Poster Image

Mercy Watson to the Rescue: Mercy Watson, Book 1

Funny, silly pig story great for early readers.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Mercy Watson’s adventures are pure entertainment, but this book (and its sequels) are perfect for new readers just graduating to chapter books.

Positive messages

It’s easy to feel warm, cozy, and safe when you’re with grown-ups who love you. Hot toast with a great deal of butter on it is delicious and can bring a crowd together. 

Positive role models

Mercy's really only after more hot buttered toast, but she clearly loves Mr. and Mrs. Watson and manages to accidentally save them, thus living up to the title of the book. Mr. and Mrs. Watson have no trouble believing Mercy’s motives are pure and call her their "porcine wonder." The two firefighters behave appropriately heroically. 

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Newbery Medal and Honor winner Kate DiCamillo's Mercy Watson to the Rescue is a lighthearted story of a "porcine wonder" named Mercy Watson that's mostly a comical misadventure involving Mercy’s passion for hot toast with a great deal of butter on it. It also is a tribute to the safe feeling a scared child can get crawling into bed with her caregivers and the unconditional love grown-ups can feel for those they're responsible for. Some extremely light peril occurs when Mercy’s weight causes her parents’ bed to fall through the floor. The colorful illustrations, large text, and white space on the page make this an excellent book for new readers just graduating to chapter books. 

Kids say

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What's the story?

Mercy Watson, a pig, is much beloved by Mr. and Mrs. Watson, who sing her to sleep every night. One night, Mercy gets scared of the dark after they tuck her in. When she crawls into bed with Mr. and Mrs. Watson, her fear disappears and she feels as cozy as can be. However, the added weight of Mercy in the bed turns out to be just a little more than the floorboards can bear. As the bed begins to fall through a hole in the floor, endangering Mr. and Mrs. Watson, oblivious Mercy jumps out of bed in search of her favorite treat: warm toast with a great deal of butter on it. While the Watsons cry for help, Mercy encounters a neighbor who's not particularly fond of pigs. Chaos ensues, and the fire department is called. Meanwhile, the Watsons are still falling, absolutely sure that their dear Mercy has run for help.

Is it any good?


Mercy’s joyful smile is contagious, and readers will mirror the doting looks on Mr. and Mrs. Watson’s faces as they gaze upon the "porcine wonder" that is Mercy. The pacing of MERCY WATSON TO THE RESCUE is fast and fun, as mix-ups abound but all turns out well.

The colorful gouache illustrations are vivid and have a cartoony flair, and the large font with plenty of white space on the page makes this an excellent book for new readers just graduating to chapter books.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the misunderstandings that lead to ultimate success, and the interesting way the pig is treated like a child rather than an animal, which annoys at least one neighbor.

  • What do you like about reading funny stories? Can you think of some other books that take an absurd situation such as Mercy’s passion for toast and make a story of it?

  • What do you think of how the family treats Mercy like a child? Have you seen your family or neighbors treat dogs and cats that way?

Book details

Author:Kate DiCamillo
Illustrator:Chris Van Dusen
Topics:Adventures, Horses and farm animals
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Candlewick Press
Publication date:October 22, 2005
Number of pages:68
Publisher's recommended age(s):6 - 9

This review of Mercy Watson to the Rescue: Mercy Watson, Book 1 was written by

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Parent Written byYgill77 May 5, 2013

Mercy Watson books are great stories, we love every book!!!

We have read the whole series of Mercy Watson books by Kate Dicamillo and my daughter love it!!! Can wait for more books to come out.
Adult Written byJdawg April 9, 2008

A fun wonderfully illustrated story for kids and adults.

I've been reading this to my kids for years. I love the characters - there are lots of great voices to be created from these stories. I've been reading it to my son's kindergarten class. We are celebrating the last book by having a buttered toast party (Mercy's favorite food). A very enjoyable series.