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Zeke Pippin Paperback – May 22, 1997

3.7 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Even a piece of garbage can change your whole life. One morning Zeke Pippin, a young pig, is moseying down the street when a harmonica falls off of a garbage truck, right in front of him. He takes it home, cleans it, and begins to play up a storm. He is a natural, soon regaling his family with the prelude to La Traviata. His family is very proud of him, but they instantly fall asleep upon hearing his tranquilizing tune. Zeke is indignant at their apparent rudeness and runs away from home, drifting down the Hinkaholly River on his trusty raft. Eventually, as he zeezles and zoozles on his harmonica, he notices that, judging by the effect his music has on other animals, he is in possession of a supernatural, sleep-inducing instrument. Zeke is sheepish. He can't believe he doubted the manners--the very integrity--of his family, who by now must miss him horribly: "He knew he must bring them a surcease of their sorrow, as swiftly as possible, and clear up this painful misunderstanding." Getting home, however, is not easy, and as it turns out, downright dangerous, but he successfully bamboozles his way until he finally faints upon the doormat of home sweet home. Zeke's family is overjoyed, and soon their boy becomes famous (more celebrated than the mayor) and everyone lives happily, musically ever after. William Steig's simple, expressive, comically deadpan drawings earned him a Caldecott Medal for Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, (link to 067166154X) and Zeke Pippin, Steig's 25th book for children, deserves a beloved place right next to it on the bookshelf. (Age 4 to 104) --Karin Snelson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

This deeply funny picture book immediately joins the ranks of Steig classics. When a harmonica falls from a garbage truck onto Zeke Pippin's trotters, the young pig's life changes completely. At every opportunity he practices his scales ("even out in the rain") until he is ready to serenade his family. But he has scarcely begun his premiere performance ("regaling them with the prelude to La Traviata") before his audience is snoozing and snoring. Outraged, Zeke leaves home. On a precarious journey downstream he soon discovers that the mouth organ puts absolutely everyone to sleep. As he hastens home he is beset by bands of baddies with only his trusty harmonica to help him out. Sensitive Zeke with his musical hopes and wounded pride is a pig with plenty of child appeal-especially amusing are illustrations of him stalking archly away from his sleeping family ("How can I go on living under the same roof with such nincompoops?"). Steig adds some nifty wordplay to his already exuberant language (e.g., "with the half-moon half helping, Zeke threaded his way through a confusion of trees and tangled vines"). The gleeful narrative simply sparkles. Ages 3-up.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Lexile Measure: AD830L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (May 22, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062059246
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062059246
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 10.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,244,790 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Catherine S. Vodrey on August 11, 2002
Format: Paperback
There was a time in my life where I practically had "Zeke Pippin" memorized, start to finish, so enormously popular was it with my young son and daughter. Even to this day, William Steig's superbly offbeat text (he describes harmonica-playing as "zeezling and zoozling" and when a character nods off, he later "nods back on again") is something to behold.
Steig resolutely refuses to talk down to kids. He throws in the occasional weird word, odd phrase, or elaborately worded paragraph just to keep kids (and their parents) on their toes. The enviable result is that his book--both this and others--is utterly memorable and stands apart from the masses of touchy-feely children's books out there.
Zeke Pippin is a pig whose life is changed by a harmonica he finds. After numerous adventures, narrow escapes, and a great number of lovingly-detailed meals and snacks (he is, after all, a pig), Zeke Pippin becomes a hero in his town and a friend to sick children. This combination of Horatio Alger pluck and Robert Louis Stevenson excitement is winning and rewards frequent reading. Steig's inimitable illustrations are just as terrific as the text. He manages to convey more with just a few watercolor tints and a wobbly black line than other artists do with a great deal more equipment (and less talent). Rewarding time and time again.
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Another stellar tale by William Steig. Our home library is filled with these contemporary fables that are enjoyable for the audience of young and old alike. Steig's style of illustration in an inspiration for children with his bright palette and natural lines.
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Format: Paperback
We're huge Steig fans here, but I found this book to be pretty scary - at one point the mother pig claims (about her missing son), "If I don't see my angel again soon... I'll shoot myself!" A little too heavy for my 4 year old... and my 8 year old too, for that matter.
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Format: Paperback
Do you want to read an exciting, thrilling story that will make you want to annoy your parents by begging them to buy you a harmonica? Well, in the story Zeke Pippen, Zeke finds a harmonica. He gets good at playing it but every time he plays for his family they start to clap, then fall asleep! Zeke gets tired of their rudeness so he decides to run away. He travels by river on a raft. On the way Zeke takes a nap and he has a dream about his family flooking the house in tears. When he woke up he noticed that he was crying and thought that he should go home so he did. On the way he met some unpleasant dogs that lie and say they would help him. But once they got on shore they started looking at and stealing all his stuff. Then they took him to their hideout. But to find out the rest read it yourself! And I know what you are thinking aw[...] really wanted to learn more! But you have to read it on your own. That's just they way things are. Hasn't your mother taught you that? Oh, and before I forget that I'm not done I have to finish so stay in your seat!

I like this book because it has lots of exciting parts and once you read it you never get tired of reading it. You may have had that happen with some other books.

I recommend this book to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd graders or people that just like funny and intense books.
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Format: Paperback
We've read several William Steig books now, after starting with Brave Irene (recommended in Jim Trelease's Read Aloud Handbook). My children (ages 4.5 and 2.5), listen on the edges of their seats with jaws dropped. My son, who eats shocking amounts of food, completely stops eating to listen to the story. William Steig is a genius story teller -- He knows how to set up a plot, foreshadowing and building suspense. He does not dumb down the language or subject matter. The stories are full of imaginative and detailed illustrations. His characters (at least those we've encountered so far) are individuals who encounter moral or personal challenges, but find the inner strength to rise above challenges and do the right thing. The stories are an excellent starting point for talking about character. AS a bonus your kids will learn som great vocabulary. Zeke Pippins is our favorite so far, but we plan to systematically read every William Steig book we can get our hands on. There is a lot of junk children's literature out there, but William Steigis amazing and should be on every child's reading list.
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Format: Paperback
The picaresque tale of Zeke Pippin is stuffed to the gills with playful, musical lingo, manic plot-turns, and characters whose voices are intuitive and uproarious to read out loud. Read in the spirit in which it's written, kids of any age will dig this rollocking roller-coaster tale, and yes, you might just increase your vocabulary doing so!
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