by Geisert, Arthur (CRT)

This wordless tale depicts a pig community's hunt for ice in the Arctic when the weather on their island becomes too hot for them to bear.

Award-winning children's book author Arthur Geisert's pigs are legendary in the world of children's books. They carve ice sculptures, teach Roman numerals, create ingenious machines and get up to all kinds of antics. Did Arthur grow up on a farm? No. He grew up in LA and claims not to have seen a pig until he was an adult. Trained as a sculptor in college, Geisert learned to etch at the Otis Art Institute in LA. Geisert has published just about a book a year for the past 30 years and every one of his books has been illustrated with etchings. His work has appeared in The New Yorker and the Horn Book magazine, and he has won the New York Time's Best Illustrated Award. A resident of Galena, a community in northwest Illinois, for decades, he currently lives in a converted bank building in Bernard, Iowa.

At 32 wordless pages, it's tempting to just breeze right through Geisert's latest. Given a quick explanation about the difference between salt and fresh water, even young children will grasp the fun flight of fancy presented here. On a small, hot island, a group of Geisert's inimitable pigs keep a communal tub of water that appears to be drying up. An expedition sallies forth on a balloon-enabled airship for the frosty northern climes, where they attach a line to an iceberg and tug it back home to be chopped up into cubes, refilling the reservoir. As much fun as it is to burrow oneself in the odd little world of Geisert's meticulously etched and colored artwork, the great opening here is to wonder about what's happening between and outside of the pages. Why are those pigs on that island anyway? How did they get such a fantastic flying ship? How often do they go iceberg hunting? What other amazing adventures await them? A golden opportunity to interact creatively with children and get those young imaginations firing. Copyright 2011 Booklist Reviews.

A heat wave compels an industrious community of island piggies to build a giant ship, complete with masts and rigging, and voyage to retrieve an Arctic iceberg and cool off. Why is this wooden boat airborne, tethered to an enormous balloon? Welcome to Geisert's peculiar porcine province! This wordless picture book, full of intricate color etchings, invites readers to loosen up and enjoy a story that makes no sense at all. Some will immediately giggle (clothed pigs frolicking in a pool of iceberg ice-cubes! Ha!), savor myriad quirky details (check out the pigs' funky angular houses—with skylights!) and expand upon Geisert's unfettered imagination (how did they get on that little sandy island? a shipwreck?). Many young readers might find the whole foray too inexplicable, too weird and offering too little action. Pigs set up a fan in front of the Arctic ice cube to get some AC at the end...great. Others will simply connect happily with the cheerful can-do attitude of the pigs—whether or not it makes any sense, the last image, of a large pig family enjoying ice water as a cool breeze blows in, two little piggies barely visible under the table, charms. Geisert's meticulous illustrations won't amuse everyone, but they certainly conjure a fully realized piggy world—an island at home with itself, floating way out there in the ocean. (Picture book. 4-10)

Copyright Kirkus 2011 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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