A humorous tale of individuality and friendship.

What parents need to know

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this fun story with simple writing and expressive cartoonlike illustrations conveys both family love and Otis's determination to be himself. Readers will chuckle at a pig that dislikes mud.

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What's the story?

A pig that doesn't like the mud? Otis prefers to stay spotless, though his family loves the mud. But Otis befriends a frog that dislikes mud as well. A humorous story, with serene illustrations, about individuality and friendship should entertain both parent and child.

Is it any good?


Otis knows that he's different, but he is determined to be himself. His brothers and sisters accept him, although he chooses not to play in the mud with them. This gentle lesson of being oneself and being accepted is valuable for children. And kids will enjoy the twist in this story -- a pig not wanting to be messy, as opposed to a child not wanting to be neat.

Watercolor-and-ink illustrations are framed in white with text overlaid on the pictures. Cartoon-like art portrays Otis and his rotund family humorously but sympathetically. The obvious joy of his fellow pigs sliding down a mud hill contrasts perfectly with the illustration of Otis, with a most unpleasant look on his face, imagining himself covered in mud.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about acceptance and the importance of staying true to yourself. Is it hard to do? What makes it easier?

Book details

Author:Janie Bynum
Illustrator:Janie Bynum
Genre:For Beginning Readers
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Harcourt Brace
Publication date:April 1, 2000
Number of pages:34
Publisher's recommended age(s):4 - 7

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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