Friday, February 20, 2009

Book Review: Mercy Watson Thinks Like a Pig

Mercy Watson Thinks Like a Pig is the fifth easy reader that made it to the 2009 CYBILS Finals.

Elderly sisters Baby and Eugenia Lincoln live next door to the Watsons, owners of the title character, Mercy. The grumpy Eugenia Lincoln decides the sisters need to beautify their yard, planting pansies along the garden edge. Mercy smells something delightful coming from next door and finds the freshly planted treats. Later, when Eugenia decides to take stock of their hard work, she finds her flowers missing except for a few petals left on Mercy’s chin!

The chase is on as Eugenia takes off after Mercy. Baby alerts the Watsons of Mercy’s actions so Mrs. Watson decides to call Mercy in for some hot buttered toast. Eugenia is irate and calls Animal Control. Baby calls the Watsons again and warns them of the “Unmentionable Horror” that is on its way.

In the meantime, Mercy’s other neighbors, kids Stella and Frank, invite her to a tea party. Of course, Mercy can’t resist the offer of cake, cream and other scrumptious goodies, but is later disappointed when she finds that it’s all pretend. While this is happening, Animal Control Officer Francine Poulet makes her way to the Watson home. Her effort to capture Mercy ends when she accidentally falls from a tree onto the imaginary tea party.

Mercy’s clueless owners, the Watsons, hail Officer Poulet a hero for finding their dear Mercy, and treat the entire neighborhood to a hot buttered toast party.

Kate DiCamillo adds another title to her successful Mercy Watson series. Chris VanDusen’s charming and colorful artwork adds to the appeal of this fluent reader. This is a solid story for kids who are still reading easy readers, but are ready to take on multiple chapters and a more complicated plot.

Mercy Watson Thinks Like a Pig by Kate DiCamillo/Illustrated by Chris VanDusen/ISBN-10: 0763632651/2008/Candlewick.

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