From School Library Journal
Grade 1–3—Porky, a pig, is a bachelor slob and Bess, a cat, is a single-mother neatnik, but they support each other through everyday adventures like cooking, ice-skating, and writing poetry. While these characters lack the charm and personality of classic beginning-reader duos such as Frog and Toad or George and Martha, they are pleasant enough. Each chapter offers a unique event, with the ongoing story line of Porky's poem-in-progress weaving throughout, though the pattern is jarred slightly by a single-page "Chapter three" in which Porky experiences writer's block. Chapter four offers the most whimsy, as the friends bake a cake that includes nighttime as an ingredient, but the book ends rather predictably as Porky presents a poem declaring his friendship for Bess. The names "Porky and Bess," reminiscent of the Gershwin opera, will amuse adults while having no effect on young readers. The warm, cozy illustrations have a Richard Scarry look to them, though they are less frenetic. Children will enjoy examining the detailed scenes, especially in Porky's messy house. While perhaps not destined to be a classic, this is a serviceable entry in the beginning-reader genre.—Heidi Estrin, Feldman Children's Library at Congregation B'nai Israel, Boca Raton, FL
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Even though they’re best friends, Porky the pig and Bess the cat could not be more different: “Porky didn’t mind a mess. Bess liked things just so.” Porky, who isn’t much for children, lives alone in his cozy, chaotic house; Bess has three kittens and keeps her house in perfect, dust-free order. Porky’s struggle to write a poem for the neighborhood Poem-Reading Day links five short episodes that introduce these affectionate pals, who visit each other, ice skate, and, in a particularly whimsical scene, stir up a special cake, baked in a dark kitchen, that includes nighttime as one of the ingredients. Part of the Step into Reading series, this title holds its own on the crowded shelves of early chapter books about dissimilar but devoted friends. The humorous details in the smoothly paced text (which includes some playful, colloquial language, such as “perfecter”) and in Winborn’s expressive color drawings will keep new readers engaged and eager to read more of Porky and Bess’ adventures. Grades K-3. --Gillian Engberg