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The Old Woman and Her Pig: An Appalachian Folktale Hardcover – January 2, 2007

5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Middle Grade Action & Adventure

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 2—This adaptation lacks the cleverness of the traditional British tale, the humor of Paul Galdone's 1960 version, and the fun of Eric Kimmel's 1992 offering. Old Woman goes "Jig jog jig jog jiggety-jig!" to town to buy a fat pig after Little Boy finds a penny. (Will anyone believe that she can buy a pig for a penny?) On the way back, the creature won't cross the bridge, so the old woman asks a dog to bark at the pig, a rat to nip the dog, and, finally, a cat to worry the rat. When the cat agrees to help, the other animals do their thing, and they all end up across the bridge and home with the little boy in time to dance a jig by nightfall. MacDonald has cut out some of the action of the original and watered down the story so that the tale seems rather pointless. There is a faint attempt to add some rhythm through the repetition of several lines, but the pace is uneven and sounds forced. Kanzler's animals are so friendly looking that one wonders why they refused to do the old woman's bidding in the first place.—Martha Simpson, Stratford Library Association, CT
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About the Author

Margaret Read MacDonald is a storyteller, author, folklorist, and children's librarian, whom School Library Journal has called "a grand dame of storytelling." Ms. MacDonald is the author of numerous books, including pickin' peas, illustrated by Pat Cummings, and the award-winning book The Parents' Guide to Storytelling. She lives in Kirkland, Washington.


Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 and up
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (January 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060280891
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060280895
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 0.2 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,644,772 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Dr. Margaret Read MacDonald travels the world telling stories....always on the lookout for more great folktales to share. She shapes these found stories into tellable tales which anyone can share with ease. Filling her folktale collections with these delightful tales, she creates perfect read alouds for you and your family. MRM wants everyone to experience the joy of a beautifully told tale. She hopes you will read them a few times...then put down the book...put down the electronic device...and just TELL the story to your children!

Some of her favorite folktales she expands into picture books...hopefully with delightfully readable language while will roll right out of your mouth. Share them with your children and then....act the tales out! Revisit the tales by TELLING them! At bedtime. While on the road. Fill your pockets with great stories to share wherever you go.

Joining her Folklore Ph.D. with her 30 plus years as a children's librarian, Margaret brings folktales to life in playful, lilting language which should delight both reader and listener.

See her performance schedule at: www.margaretreadmaconald.com

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Remember the one about the old woman trying to coax her pig to cross a stile?
Storyteller and folklore expert MacDonald offers a bright new interpretation of this old favorite Appalachian story. Her sprightly, rhythmic text retains what's best about the traditional tale while adding original elements to please a contemporary audience.
You know the plot already: the old woman goes to market and buys a fine pig, but heading home, she can't get piggie to cross the stile (updated to a wooden bridge over a river in this version). She begs for help from passers-by and even natural elements in a cumulative plea that grows progressively more outlandish.
MacDonald's jaunty retelling offers a pair of contrasting refrains children will quickly learn to chant. At the outset, the old woman's happy song exults, "Goin' to town, gonna buy a little pig. Jig jog jig jog jiggety-jig!" Caught on the wrong side of the river, the hapless woman sadly sings to herself, "I can't get to my little boy tonight. It's almost dark . . . but the moon does shine." For storytellers who'd like to sing the refrains, the songs are included in an author's note at the end of the book.
Folksy, colorful paintings exaggerate the story's humor and enhance the emotions in the expressions of each character. Particularly pleasing is the stubborn pig's smug smile on the page where rat and dog defy the homeward-bound woman.
New to the story is a charming cat who resolves the impass at the bridge through cooperation rather than the violence of the original. This cheerful alteration is so smoothly integrated into the narrative that children unfamiliar with the folktale will accept it as natural, and those who know the earlier version will find this ending even more satisfying.
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By maria on February 26, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book waS so good the kids enjoyed listening to me read it and asked me to read it over and over
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