The Unlikely Story of a Pig in the City by Jodi Kendall
Publisher: HarperCollins Childrens
Published: October 2017
Genre: middle grade, contemporary
Josie Shilling’s family is too big, their cramped city house is too small, and she feels like no one’s ever on her side. Then, on Thanksgiving Day, her older brother, Tom, brings home a pink, squirmy bundle wrapped in an old football jersey—a piglet he rescued from a nearby farm. Her name is Hamlet.
The minute Josie holds Hamlet, she feels an instant connection. But there’s no room for Hamlet in the crowded Shilling household. And whoever heard of keeping a pig in the city? So it’s up to Josie to find her a forever home.
Josie’s brother brings home a runt piglet at Thanksgiving. This would’ve been okay if her family wasn’t so large, cramped in a fairly small townhouse in a big city with very little yard space and money to stretch. Josie doesn’t want her family to send the piglet back to the farm, and promises to find a home for little Hamlet before New Year’s Day. She wants to keep Hamlet, and does her very best to juggle all her usual responsibilities with chores, homework, and gymnastics practice. But as New Year’s Day draws near, and Hamlet grows larger, and the family faces big changes, Josie begins to wonder if she’ll ever find a nice home for Hamlet.
This modern-day homage to Charlotte’s Web is absolutely perfect. It can stand completely on it’s own, or be read alongside the classic. The heart of the story is about love, family, sacrifice, and friendship. It rings true to any reader — a middle grade reader juggling school and extracurricular activities, the middle child who just wants to be noticed and appreciated, the teenager who wants to do right for all parties involved, and the adult continuing to experience all these things and recalling the big responsibilities, wishes, and dreams from childhood. It’s great for the whole family, especially during the holiday season.
Kendall portrayed the big family lifestyle in a cramped home in the city so well. At times it felt claustrophobic, and others it felt warm and cozy. The family has their ups and downs, bickers and mishaps mixed with support and love. Nothing is picture perfect, but it takes little moments for Josie to realize her family does see her and her accomplishments, that she’s not lost in the noise. She has her insecurities and dreams, and it’s so neat seeing how they grow and change during her gymnastics season and taking care of little Hamlet.
A heartwarming middle grade perfect for the whole family this holiday season.
Thank you, HC Children’s editorial, for providing this ARC.