Parents' Guide to

The Christmas Pig

By Carrie R. Wheadon, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

Quirky holiday odyssey helps boy cope with loss and divorce.

The Christmas Pig Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 7+

Based on 7 parent reviews

age 8+

Disturbing messages about consent

I wanted to love this book. We got it to read with our 4-year-old and 13-year-old. Very early in the book in became clear that it was going to be too dark for our young one. The child protagonist is scarred by his parents’ divorce and it’s quite depressing. We kept reading with our teen. The most horrifying part of the story for me was an incident in which the male protagonist and a male pig force their way into a female lunchbox, threaten her, and force her to let them stay inside her against her will to advance their cause; then they threaten to hurt her if she tells anyone. After that I had a very hard time cheering for this boy and his pig. This plot point was totally unnecessary and sends a horrible message to children about consent and their autonomy over their own bodies, as well as what they should do if they are physically taken advantage of (ie - not tell anyone).
3 people found this helpful.
age 7+

A great way to learn emotions in hard events

This is an amazing adventure story. Yes, it does touch in emotions and hardships of a divorce and how a child may feel and how they may even bond with something for comfort during major life changing events, but that is something critical to teach your child and discuss, even from a psychological standpoint. My child was 8 when I first read this to him and it is now a yearly tradition. He found the hardships and the attachment to the pig very relatable. Being autistic, he has a hard time explaining his emotions and this helped him explore that and be able to communicate. Extremely useful book, regardless of the other reviews. Parents may not wish to discuss divorce and the seething anger and sadness of how children feel about these events (as well as moving and gaining a new step parent and siblings), but these are REAL things that are VERY COMMON today. Outside of that, the adventures to find the pig have you in the edge of your seat and you don’t want to stop reading. We cannot wait for this to become a movie!

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
1 person found this helpful.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (7 ):
Kids say (4 ):

This quirky Christmas odyssey is a touching lesson on how kids can process loss, even the loss of their most beloved toy of all time. There's no replacing Jack's stuffed pig DP when he's thrown into traffic by his stepsister. Jack is willing to do anything to get him back, even shrink to the size of an action figure, get lost, and pose as a Thing in the Land of the Lost. When Jack embarks on his magical journey with one stuffed pig to find another, he finds himself in a place where Things are waiting anxiously to be found again, to go home to their humans. Everything's there, from address books and diamond earrings to feelings like happiness and ambition and bad habits like nose-picking and smoking. They're all cast into their appropriate towns like Mislaid, Bother-It's-Gone, and The Missed -- the bad habits roam the Wastes. It brings to mind an even quirkier quest tale, the classic The Phantom Tollbooth and its two princesses, Rhyme and Reason.

Jack and his companion, the Christmas Pig, are chased at every moment by the Loss Adjusters and the Loser, a giant Thing-destroying baddie with glowing eyes. The chase adds tension and excitement to their odyssey and brings together Jack and the Christmas Pig when their relationship didn't exactly get off to the best start. Because it's a Christmas story, they have only until Christmas Day to find DP and they will require some help from a certain jolly old elf before it's done. There's also a lesson to learn, something from a world of magic that will help a child cope in the real world, this time with loss and divorce and the struggles of fitting into a new family structure. Will this modern Christmas tale become a classic in time? It's hard to tell if it has the staying power of stories like The Polar Express, but it's beautifully presented with detailed black-and-white illustrations by Jim Field, and perfectly suited to be delivered to kids on Christmas Day next to an adorably scruffy stuffed pig.

Book Details

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