Thursday, 28 November 2013

Book Tour - Review & Guest Blog Post: The Unbelievable Top Secret Diary of Pig by Emer Stamp (Children's, 7 years +, 10E/10E)

These types of illustrations are throughout the book
  October 2013, Scholastic, 192 pages, Hardback/Paperback/eBook, Review copy

Themes: life on a farm, fake friends, true friends, truly evil enemies, innocence, herding sheep, hurtful truths, smart thinking, lots of manure, gnomes, Pluto (the planet), astropig,
Content: Some major peril, constant hilarity

Summary from Scholastic
Pig loves Farmer, and he can’t help it either. After all, Farmer gives Pig yummy slops and special back scratches. He calls him Sausage and seems to love him more, the fatter he gets. But should you trust someone who calls you Roast Pork? Pig thinks so. But clever Duck knows better. He’s determined his best friend should know the horrid truth…

Nayuleska's thoughts
It's hard to pinpoint what makes Pig's diary so awesome. The comical illustrations are perfectly placed to highlight what's happening at each plot twist, pig's semi-poor grasp of grammar adds laughter especially at the scariest moments, pig's thoughts of the other animals and humans is entertaining, and the plot twists caught me by surprise. Life for Pig is never dull! At times it is quite emotional, which was a pleasant discovery. This is a read for anyone who needs a laugh - I doubt anyone can read this book without laughing at every page!

Suggested read
For more hilarious animal antics try 

Guest Blog Post

Nayu here! This is such a hilarious book - it's been a pleasure reading it, and I've got a great treat in store for you now: Here's Emer on how farms have featured in her life! 

I grew up on a sheep farm in Devon. When I was about eight years old my parents bought a Pig to add to their large menagerie. This Pig was wittily named Salt Pork. A name that, had he understood what it meant (salt pork is a kind of bacon), would have had him running for the rolling hills.

It was this memory that inspired The Unbelievable Top Secret Diary of Pig. But Pig is not the only character I met on the farm. Farmer, Duck, Cow, the Evil Chickens and the Sheeps are also very real to me too.

Duck is Duckie, my Dad’s favorite duck. Why his favorite? Well the fox had eaten all the other ducks so dad had no option but to love him the most. He was a lovely, friendly duck. Who, in the absence of his duck family, made friends with, you’ve guessed it, Salt Pork.

My parents always kept half a dozen chickens for their eggs (my Mum loved baking). I never liked them; their beady little black eyes scared me. Every night the chickens would roost on Ruby, our cow, and every morning we would have to wipe their little poops off her lovely orange back – those evil, evil pooping chickens!!

Cow is inspired by Ruby. Ruby was a beautiful, large, orange-coloured cow who my parents bought so they could have fresh milk every morning. When I was about 5 or 6 my mum used to let me ride Ruby up the lane that ran from Ruby’s stable to the field she grazed in. Riding a cow is quite uncomfortable – they are very bony!

The sheeps? Well, they are the many, many sheep that I came across over the 18 years I lived on the farm. And one thing I remember clearest about them is that sheep like to do everything together. The phrase, ‘follow like sheep’ couldn’t be truer.

And finally Farmer. Well Farmer is based on my Dad. Not that my Dad is nasty like Farmer is. He is a lovely man in real life. But when I came to draw Farmer I thought of my Dad; his flat cap, his tired old gilet, his dirty trousers and of course his wellie boots. No farmer is ever complete without a flat cap and wellie boots!

Thank you Emer for giving us insight into your farming background - it's awesome that the characters mean so much to you!

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