Book review: Saving Emma the Pig, by John Chester, illustrated by Jennifer L. Meyer

Chester, John. Saving Emma the Pig. Illustrated by Jennifer L. Meyer. (The Biggest Little Farm series.) Feiwel and Friends.  2019. 40 pages.  $17.99. ISBN 9781250187796. Ages 5 and up. P9Q9

This story is based on a real story about a pig named Emma and her new babies. The illustrations are large and lifelike, and one falls in love with new mom Emma right away. There are photos and an update about the real Emma, too, which makes a strong connection for children about farm life.

VERDICT: This is an engaging real story, with wonderful illustrations that keep you wanting to turn the page. Children will love the farm and the happy ending.

February 2020 review by Lynne Wright.

Book review: A Squirrelly Situation, by Jacqueline Kelly, illustrated by Jennifer L. Meyer

Kelly, Jacqueline. A Squirrelly Situation. (Calpurnia Tate Girl Vet series, book 5). Illus. by Jennifer L. Meyer. Holt, 2019. 100p. $15.99. ISBN 978-1-62779-877-8. Ages 8-11. P8Q8

Characters from Kelly’s Newbery Honor Book The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate and the setting of early 20th century Texas have evolved into an easy series of chapter books in which Callie Vee, who wants to become a veterinarian, typically encounters wounded animals. In this book, her brother brings home an abandoned baby squirrel which is adopted by the family cat. The injury comes when Fluffy the squirrel breaks his tale in a slamming screen door. The book culminates in Emily’s discovery of why a small, lumpy squirrel weighs so much in the community contest to produce the heaviest squirrel.

Verdict: Fluffy’s escapade in the kitchen and the different reactions of family members to the new addition provide the humor in the book, and the black and white drawings enhance the delight of the book. A simple read with some adventure but not a lot of fright.

June 2019 review by Nel Ward.

Book review: A Prickly Problem, by Jacqueline Kelly, illustrated by Jennifer L. Meyer

Kelly, Jacqueline. A Prickly Problem. Illus. by Jennifer L. Meyer. [Calpurnia Tate Girl Vet series]. Holt, 2018. $15.99. 104p. ISBN 978-1-62779-875-4. Ages 7-9. P8Q9

The author of The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate, a Newbery Honor Book, and The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate has made her popular protagonist accessible to younger readers in the Girl Vet chapter book series. Set in Texas during the turn of the 20th century, Callie gets involved in a variety of adventures, in this case a problem with the beloved but rowdy family dog that won’t take “no” from a prickly porcupine. The veterinarian is available for the dog’s first encounter, but Callie is alone for the second.

Verdict: A fun, quick read about a highly likeable character who loves education and the grandfather who helps her find it on the family’s ranch. Black and white drawings add to the understanding. Other books in the series: Skunked!, Counting Sheep, and Who Gives a Hoot? 

April/May 2018 review by Nel Ward.