Monday, November 29, 2021

MMGM- Pigture Perfect

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday
and #IMWAYR day 

Goebel, Jenny. Pigture Perfect
December 7th 2021 by Scholastic Inc.
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Grace has lived with just her mother since her father left when she was young, but she's okay with her mother marrying Mr. Pine. He's nice enough, and since she and her mother have moved into his house with a yard, she hopes that she will finally be able to get an adorable puppy. When she sees a sticky note that Mr. Pine has left lying about that mentions a vet appointment, she hopes that the puppy will appear under the Christmas tree. Instead, she finds a 75 pound rescue pig! Teacup pigs are not common, and most pet pigs weigh at least that much! She tries to make the best of it, but when Mr. Pine's daughter Emma also moves home, it's hard to keep her new pet (whom she names Bernard) under control. He roots up the yard, destroys food on the table, and gets into Emma's room. When she has him out for a walk, Grace runs into classmate Liam, whom her best friend Sydney thinks is odd. He's hanging out near the local retirement community with an older gentelman, Francis, who seems to know a lot about pigs. He recommends training the pig, and Grace looks into certifying her pet (to whom she has become attached) as a therapy animal. The catch? She needs an adult to go with her to training, and her mother and Mr. Pine are very busy. Emma is not quite old enough, although is frequently called upon to drive Grace places, adding to her irritation. Grace comes up with a plan, but she needs help from Jana and Alejandra, who spend more time with Sydney than Grace has been. Will she be able to convince her mother and new stepfather that Bernard IS working out, and that she doesn't want to trade him in for a dog?
Strengths: Grace is having a little bit of a rocky adjustment to her new living arrangement, but she WANTS Mr. Pine to like her, and tries really hard not to give him a hard time, even feeling bad about the tone she uses with him at one point. This is fantastic, and really true to life for middle school age children who are trying to do the right thing. The interactions with Emma, whose mother suddenly decides to move away, are realistic as well. The details of training a pig and of the problems they can get into if not trained are very good. Grace was such a well meaning character, and I liked her a lot. There haven't been a whole lot of characters lately whom I have enjoyed as much! 
Weaknesses: Grace gives her full name with Pine as her last name, but there is no mention that I caught of Mr. Pine adopting her. That's a pretty big move, but this was in the ARC, so maybe it will change. 
What I really think: Goebel tried her hand with fantasy with Grave Images and Fortune Falls, but she absolutely rocks at realistic fiction! Alpaca My Bags was exquisite, and Pigture Perfect doesn't disappoint. I liked this even more than Kendall's The Unlikely Story of a Pig in the City (2017) because of the inclusion of the friend and family relationships, as well as the friendship with Liam. Also, I am a sucker for books where children befriend older people. Of course, I am more on the end of the spectrum where I am the older person!
 Ms. Yingling


  1. You 've got to love that cover and those ears! Sounds like a complicated but very entertaining read. I like the characters. I enjoyed Kendall's novel in 2017, so I'm sure I'll enjoy this one. Was looking for a book for a 10-year-old and I think this is perfect.

  2. I have never seen a teacup pig! So this will be a fun book to read...

  3. Sounds like there is a lot to like about this book, but that cover is definitely going to appeal to many kids.

  4. I would not have picked up this book but your enticing review changed my mind. I'll be picking this one up for sure. Thanks for sharing on today's MMGM.

  5. This sounds like such a delightful read, Karen! The story sounds pretty upbeat—perhaps it's the inclusion of a pig named Bernard that does it! And Grace's relationship with Mr. Pine sounds quite intriguing and realistic as well. Thanks so much for the great review!

  6. What a fun sounding book! I too like these books with intergenerational relationships. I can't imagine being one of those people who would live in a complex with only old people like themselves.

    1. I feel the same way and am encouraged that only about 25% of people end up in senior facilities. My father is in an indepedent living apartment because my mother needed memory care. It's a good thing for him and he loves it, because he really can't cook for himself. The enforced togetherness and activities would not be to my liking, either.

  7. That cover would make me pick this book up. Gosh, that such a cute pig! It sounds like a really fun read. I will try to check this out. Thanks for the review.

  8. I am not drawn to covers like this one, although I know that kids are. Good to hear that there is much to like about the story too. Thanks for your detailed reviews, I have been missing these lately.