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Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Book Review: The Tale of Little Pig Robinson

This is my fifteenth review of Devon-related literature. The previous review was of New Year on Dartmoor.

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Title: The Tale of Little Pig Robinson

Type: Children’s book

Author: Beatrix Potter

Links to Devon: Beatrix Potter often holidayed in Devon with her family. According to Beatrix Potter – The Complete Tales, the inspiration for this story came when Beatrix Potter was seventeen and staying in Ilfracombe, where she saw a long flight of steps leading down to the harbour.

When I read this: 21st August 2012

Summary: This story is about how the pig in Edward Lear’s poem The Owl and The Pussycat ended up living in “the land where the Bong-tree grows”. In this tale, he is called Little Pig Robinson and initially lives with Aunt Dorcas and Aunt Porcas on a farm near Stymouth (a fictionalised version of Sidmouth), but all that changes when he goes to Stymouth market alone on some errands for his aunts.

Strengths: This is a charming children’s story. The characters are all vividly portrayed, especially Little Pig Robinson himself, and I was quickly drawn into the story as if I was there in Stymouth myself! I have been a fan of Beatrix Potter’s tales for as long as I can remember and this one is a good example of her whimsical writing style. Her drawings and sketches also add to the enjoyment of reading this.

Weaknesses: I do not think this story is as well-crafted as other of Beatrix Potter’s tales. The beginning has quite a slow pace and a lot of time is spent in Stymouth. In fact, whilst reading the first five chapters I was very confused how this story linked to the Lear poem. It just seemed to be about Little Pig Robinson running around the town buying and selling things for his aunts, and contained more references to This Little Piggy than The Owl and The Pussycat. When, at the end of chapter six, Little Pig Robinson is finally out at sea, I wondered how the story of his finding the Bong Tree could possibly be finished in only two more chapters. And, in my opinion, this part of the story was not as well thought-out or detailed as the rest of the story. The ending felt rushed and abrupt, compared to the flow and wordiness of the previous chapters.

Overall Opinion: The Tale of Little Pig Robinson, whilst not my favourite story by Beatrix Potter, was fun to read. I think young children, especially those familiar with The Owl And The Pussycat, will love to read, or listen to, this tale.

Rating (out of five): Three and a half smileys!

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The next review will be of the poem Queen Mab by Percy Bysshe Shelley...

FairyJo! x

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