By Anthony Browne

Alfred A. Knopf, 1986


Mr. Piggott lived with his two sons, Simon and Patrick, in a nice house with a nice garden, and a nice car in the nice garage. Inside the house was his wife.

My mother, a school teacher for thirty-odd years, recently found this book in her vast collection and presented it to me. “You’ll like this,” she said. And I do — especially after a particularly long day where I have felt like a combination of referee/hostage negotiator/butler/waitress/washerwoman.  Although written by a man, Piggybook is decidedly feminist. Mrs. Piggott is so taken advantage of by her greedy, sloppy family that one day, she leaves. In her absence, her two sons and husband turn into grumpy pigs, and their house a filthy sty. Of course, Mrs. Piggott does indeed return home and accept their groveling apologies and promises that things will be different. And things are. What I find so impressive is how Browne’s narrative is deepened by the illustrations; not until the very happy conclusion of this book does Mrs. Piggott have facial features.

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