The Appeal of Pigs
I read in a newspaper recently that most people collect something - for me it's pigs! My collection started many years ago with a wooden pig I saw on a bric-a-brac stall in Hay market. It was nothing special, not an antique, not particularly pretty and not expensive (I think I paid about 50 pence) but it caught my eye and I bought it. My collection has grown and grown over the years because, along with my purchases, family and friends have bought me gifts of pigs as well - I was never difficult to buy for, if in doubt get a pig! To date I have over 400 pigs in all shapes and sizes and made of all manner of materials.
Left: I spy something beginning with 'P'...
Even though I have always loved pigs it wasn't until I joined the staff at Rose's Books that I realised quite how many pigs feature in children's literature. Pigling Bland and Little Pig Robinson are central characters in two books by Beatrix Potter. The tale of Pigling Bland tells of his adventures on the way to market with his brother Alexander. Things don't go according to plan (mainly due to Alexander) so Pigling finds himself travelling alone.
Right: Podgy Pig from Rupert Annual 1978
The Tale of Little Pig Robinson tells how Robinson goes to Stymouth to shop in the market. Whilst running his errands he naively allows a man he meets in town to show him around his ship. Little Pig Robinson finds himself still on board when the ship has left port and doesn't realise the man who befriended him is the ship's chef - unfortunately for Robinson the chef has plans for him! I was particularly amused by the sentence which refers to Robin son finding his 'sea-legs' during the voyage.
Left: Little Pig Robinson
Some pigs are not the central characters but well known friends of the main character. Piglet from the Winnie the Pooh books by A.A. Milne is a good friend of Winnie the Pooh and features in a lot of their escapades in Hundred Acre Wood. Rupert Bear also has a pig as one of his friends; his name is Porgy Pig. I think the stories are so well written that the animals have become humanised. I don't even think of Porgy as a pig - he is just another character. Perhaps the fact that he is dressed in a very dapper suit helps too!
Some famous pigs from literature have made it to the big screen. Dick King-Smith has written numerous stories with animal themes, probably the most well-known being The Sheep-Pig which was made into the movie 'Babe'. Who could forget Babe singing 'Jingle Bells' - this has to be one of my all time favourite film moments. More recently Charlotte's Web by E.B. White has been made into a film, again with a pig as one of the main stars. It tells the story of the close friendship between Wilbur the pig and Charlotte the spider and of Charlotte's efforts to keep Wilbur at the farm.
Right: Pigling Bland
My personal favourite from those I have mentioned above is Piglet and as a result I have numerous Piglets in my collection at home. If you like pigs and would like to see our range of childrens books featuring pigs please click here. If you are interested in livestock, please see our reference books about pigs.
Contributed by Lorna Evans
(Published 28th Oct 2014)