Pig Will and Pig Won’t

My dad got this book for my kids. He fondly remembered reading it to my brother and me when we were young.

What is it

Pig Will and Pig Won’t is a simple book about two brothers, one of whom behaves well while the other does not. The good pig gets rewarded and the bad pig changes his ways because he wants rewards as well. Although this sounds a bit Machiavellian for a kids book — teaching them that good behavior is a quid-pro-quo situation where treats are ‘bought’ by not misbehaving — the story is fun, sweet, and engaging.

Anyone who remembers Goofus and Gallant from the Highlights for Children magazine on the coffee table at the pediatrician’s office will recognize the theme.

Who is it for

All kids could use a reminder about the importance of good behavior, but we noticed the book resonated particularly well with our oldest, who is frequently chastised for behavior. The story and language is quite simple, so only younger kids will get much out of it.

What Kids Like

The kids like the classic Richard Scarry drawing style. They always enjoy looking at the details in his illustrations. And they like that the characters ‘win’ in the end.

What Parents Like

There really are not many engaging books that depict good manners. So many books now focus on space and STEM and try to be fun without really giving examples of how to act. Perhaps books on manners is an old-fashioned idea.

What the Critics Think

Goodreads gives it 4/5

Who Made it

Richard Scarry wrote and illustrated over 300 books until his death in 1994. He trained as an artist in Philadelphia before moving to Switzerland and many of his books take place in a kind of idealized Swiss village.

His most famous characters are Huckle Cat and Lowly Worm.

Where Can I Get it

Google has a preview

Richard Scarry’s Best Mysteries Ever!

Richard Scarry invented many memorable characters, including Huckle Cat and Lowly Worm, that lived on in cartoons and educational CD-Roms even after his death in 1994.

This book seems to be based on the animated series, “The Busy World of Richard Scarry” and was written in 1998. It does not include the standard Scarry characters, but does include new ones, including:

– Intrepid reporter Cucumber and her assistant Pickles
– Detective Sneef and his side-kick Sniff
– Detective Couscous

The book has 8 adventures, with one of the main characters solving a crime somewhere in the world. Each story is in a different setting (Brazil, India, Sahara, etc.) and the book includes a large map of the world, so this is (among other things) a good introduction to geography

The drawing style is exactly the same as Scarry’s and the stories are fun and engaging. The kids like this book a lot.

The 8 short stories make it good for bedtime reading since I can read just one if it’s getting late and the kids are tired, or 3 if there’s more time, or even all 8 if everyone’s happily tucked in early.