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Our Principal Promised to Kiss a Pig Hardcover – January 1, 2004

11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 1-4–When the students in Ms. Juliet's school read more than 10,000 books, she must fulfill her promise to kiss a pig. The young narrator offers her porcine pet, Hamlet, who isn't looking forward to smooching a stranger. Displayed in thought balloons over Hamlet's head are Shakespeare-inspired verses that express his initial dismay and eventual change of heart. These quotes, along with the lines that inspired them and a brief biography of the Bard, are listed at the end of the book. The conversational text is prone to excessive plot exposition, giving the story a very slow pace. The authors fail to impart a feeling of excitement as the big day draws near, so the climax falls flat. DiRocco's colorful watercolor illustrations highlight the most important moments and help bring the tale to life. His depiction of Hamlet dressed in 17th-century attire adds to the mood. Attempting to introduce children to Shakespeare in the guise of a verse-quoting pig is a novel idea. Unfortunately, this is a mediocre story that is hindered rather than helped by its allusions to the playwright. Younger audiences won't understand the references, while older readers will be put off by the book's format. For a better introduction, try Marcia Williams's Tales from Shakespeare (Candlewick, 1998).–Catherine Callegari, San Antonio Public Library, TX
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Gr. 4-5. Who is the audience for this Shakespeare parody in picture-book form? It's a tough call. The school principal, Ms. Juliet, promises to kiss a pig if the students read lots of books. Hamlet, a little girl's pet pig, isn't happy when his owner volunteers him for the kiss: "O, heavy heart, do not weep. / This kiss has murdered sleep." Then he sees Ms. Juliet and falls in love: "I never saw true beauty / Till this day." Preschoolers will enjoy the slapstick, but they obviously won't have a clue about the Shakespeare jokes. Older children, however, will be disarmed by the humor, which may make this useful for helping students feel more relaxed about the Bard and his Elizabethan English. A guide at the back provides references to the plays and to the quotes. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 7 - 10 years
  • Grade Level: 2 - 5
  • Lexile Measure: 840L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company (January 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807566292
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807566299
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 8 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,081,581 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Alexis Denver on December 19, 2004
Format: Hardcover
What a treat! Kall Dakos' wonderful new book Our Principal Promised to Kiss a Pig is a must for any elementary school teacher, parent or Shakespearean lover.

It has a plot that each and every child in school can relate to. A principal, who wants the students in her school to read more books, promises to kiss a pig if they do. Hamlet is the pig who will be kissed. He is a unique character because he speaks only in Shakepearean rhyme. (I dare all of you to see if you can pick out what Shakepearean play his lines come from without peeking at the references at the back of the book).

Young children just love chanting along with Hamlet. Older children can perform the scenes (ie. the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet) and learn a lot while doing it!

The illustrations are colourful and Hamlet's attire is right on the mark!

A wonderful introduction for children to the greatest writer of all time!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. David Derosier on February 4, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Ah, Hamlet. A tragic lover with unrequited ardor, and a hero who uses passionate poetic verse to express himself. Shakespeare's Hamlet? No. Kalli Dakos' Hamlet. He's a pig (literally) and the lead character in a new children's book called Our Principal Promised to Kiss a Pig.

In this new book, the principal (Ms. Juliet) wants her students to read 10,000 books. Quite a feat. If they do, she'll kiss a pig. But Hamlet is not a willing subject in this game. "To kiss, or not to kiss, the principal in school? Why choose a pig to be

their fool?"

Paraphrasing the English playwright/poet/actor is an excellent balance to the narrator's easy tone and simple words.

If the child asks, "Is that poetry?" and the parent replies that it comes from Shakespeare - what better way to get both parents and children interested in learning more?

I highly recommend this book to children of all ages (that includes parents).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lidia Smith on January 27, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I just wanted to thank Kalli Dakos and Alicia Desmarteau for inspiring my 7 year old to read. This is the first book that she has related to on any level. She loved the story, the pig, the introduction to Shakespeare, and Ms. Juliet. I can hardly believe she is learning to love Shakespeare in the process. Until now, I was concerned that she would never develop a love for reading. Her teachers have all been concerned with her lack of enthusiasm with reading. Not only has she sat down and read this book over 50 times, but has read it to her little brother, friends, family, and her daddy. She has read this book so much that I believe she has memorized it now.

Thank you again Ms. Dakos for giving my child the love of reading. I am so grateful for "Our Principal Promised to Kiss a Pig". I am mailing you privately to get all of your other books and to thank you again.

Gratefully,

Lidia Smith
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Format: Hardcover
Our Principal Promised to Kiss a Pig is a wonderful children's book that is entertaining, captivating, and extremely well written. What a wonderful way to introduce readers to Shakespeare by writing about a Principal and a Pig. Hamlet the pig is adorable who does not want to kiss Ms. Juliet (the Principal). The references to Shakespeare's plays was a wonderful idea, and captivates students of all ages. All Elementary School teachers must have this book in their classrooms.

Congratulations Ms. Dakos and Ms. Desmarteau for the most wonderful children's book I have ever read.
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Format: Hardcover
Frank Hodge , Children's Literature Specialist,

Hodge-Podge Books, Albany, New York

Ms. Juliet, the narrator just happens to have a pig she received from her aunt, an English teacher. The pig is named Hamlet. And now the fun begins. Poor Hamlet's balloon speeches are adaptations of words from Shakespeare - with no apologies to Will - "To kiss, or not to kiss, The principal in school? Why choose a pig to be their fool?" Get your laugh machine ready. It is wonderful.
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Format: Hardcover
I thought this book was precious. I loved the anticipation Hamlet felt waiting to see if the students reached their goal. I loved how the pig fell in love with the principal after the kiss. It was cute as could be, and I know that students will enjoy reading it.

(I have worked with a principal who kissed a pig after the students successfuly raised/collected one million pennies.She kept her promise. I hope the pig felt the same way about her.)
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