When I think about fairytale characters, I wonder if these stories might be children’s first foray into the ambiguous thrill of the horror genre, a kind of ‘Friday the 13th’ for toddlers? Locking a girl with beautiful long hair in a tower and then shearing off said hair upon the arrival of a boyfriend always did seem excessive. Not to mention the mass drowning of children by a cheated flautist-exterminator. Hmmm, might want to rethink that bedtime story…
Monday, 26 December 2011
Since Wilbur graced the pages of Charlotte’s Web, and (spoiler alert!) E.B. White broke my heart when he killed off everyone’s favourite spider, I’ve been fond of pigs. However, mine is a conditional love and, unlike Wilbur’s open-hearted variety, is based on cuteness. I’m uncertain about the enormous, sagging pot-bellied types, but enamoured with the storybook miniature pig – during a few hours of inspired enthusiasm (aka ‘madness’) I considered buying a miniature pig. My heartstrings had been tugged by the online photo of a chocolate piglette named Wisdom. Surely she could use kitty litter? Surely she could wallow in mud in the bathtub or an outdoor kiddies’ pool? Surely my hubby didn’t expect a highly intelligent baby animal to be forced to sleep outside when she could easily be trained to sleep at the end of our bed? Car keys and credit cards were hidden until the clucky (oinky?) pink haze receded.
So my adoration for these snuffling, rough-skinned, pleasure-seeking creatures has remained confined to the pages of the books in which they star. My love remains shallow and dependent on a rosy portrayal. The dark view of pigs’ ‘human’ potential portrayed in Animal Farm wasn’t my cup of tea or, should I say, trough of leftovers (sorry, I’ll try to stop), but there are some books about pigs that make me giggle, cry and smile in appreciation of their specialness… such as:
The Good Good Pig: The Extraordinary Life of Christopher Hogwood by Sy Montgomery.
All Pigs are Beautiful by Dick King-Smith, with gorgeous illustrations by Anita Jeram.