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Arnold Lobel (1933-1987) was the award-winning author and illustrator of many beloved children's books, including the classic I Can Read books about Frog and Toad, and the Caldecott Medal winning Fables.
I have not seen this book in many years so place yourself in a time machine and follow me back to elementary school. I must have been seven but I would check this book out of the library every week as experation came due. Can I say they were great limericks after my many years of learning since then? No, but I can say I never enjoyed a book more than Pigericks when I was young.
"There was a," begins every limerick by Arnold Lobel in his book, "The Book of Pigericks."
Arnold Lobel's art is par excellence. His "Frog and Toad" books, for example, have become standards in libraries across America. Here, his art still shines. His limericks are so-so.
To compare Arnold Lobel to Edward Lear is unfair. However, no mention of limericks can be done without invoking the name of the great wit Lear. See his limericks and find out why. What is fair is comparing Lobel to Lobel. This is not Lobel's best work.
Great limericks require an intuitive sense of meter, and where and how syllables change their pace. Lobel slips here and there, and could have edited his collection better.
To be expected, there is a pig from Nantucket. There is also one from North Stowe, Glens Falls, Palm Springs, Schenectady ("my neck today"), Duluth, and Chanute. Pigs live everywhere, and do almost anything, except pig things. The limericks lack proper pigness. Lobel could have replaced "pig" with other one syllable animals, like cat, dog or bird, and his limericks would not change at all.
The pictures are all pig, and very fun. Pig pictures, like monkey pictures, somehow always look silly. Lobel extracts every kind of goofy pig situation possible.
A few of the limericks might find their way into anthologies, but on the whole, Lobel wasted his great skill as an artist. He is a great writer too, but this book is one of his best.
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