Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews



Mark Teague
Picture Book
For ages 4 to 8
Scholastic, 2004   ISBN: 0439598435

Have you ever met a child who likes to clean his or her room? Is there a mother out there who likes to tell her children, over and over again, to clean their room? No, of course not. Tired of having to nag her son all the time, one clever mother decides to let her son Wendell experience what is like to live in a room that is never cleaned up. Instead of demanding that her son clean his room she says, “okay, live in a pigsty.”

Wendell’s messy room quickly attracts an interesting visitor, a large pig. Neither the boy nor the pig minds the mess, and they are quite happy to share Wendell’s room. Even when a second pig shows up the following day, this isn't a cause for alarm, and all three of them play monopoly until late in the night. The mess in Wendell’s room grows, but so does the fun. More pigs arrive, and Wendell has a great time with them.

There does come a time however, when things do take a turn for the worse as the pigs begin to “hog” things. Not only that, but they are also very careless with Wendell's toys. Though Wendell has befriended the pigs, they tear up, sit on, and ill-use his possessions. Eventually Wendell decides that enough is enough. Something has to be done.

With his comical paintings, Mark Teague will keep his audience engaged and the pages turning. He brings his story alive by having Wendell’s mess spill off the framed pages at times. With warm humor, this title helps children to see that there are good reasons for doing their share of the work around the house – even if they think it is all a waste of time.