Old Pig

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Margaret Wild (text),  Ron Brooks (illus.),  Old Pig,  Allen & Unwin,  Feb 2017,  32pp.,  $24.99 (hbk), ISBN 9781760293895

This new edition of the 1995 award-winning classic is about the death of a grandparent. With lyrical phrases like ‘clouds gather like gossips’ hand-rendered in pencil and with Brooks’ constantly active sketchy line and busy washes of colour – every page poignantly quivers with the fragile vibrancy of life, just as it is let go. Bursts of watercolour will make the reader want to dance for joy at nature’s splendour and allows them to see the world through the eyes of both young and old simultaneously .The tenderness between grandmother and daughter is beautifully expressed through the facial expressions and warm paint tones.

A last Chagal-like spread speaks volumes with few words. Symbols of death – a dove, a boat across a river, the night turning to dawn complete the tale and the reader leaves the story refreshed rather than saddened. The young pig is not left behind in loneliness but with hopes and capabilities learnt from her grandmother.
Reviewed by Liz Anelli

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