Cover image for The great pig escape
The great pig escape
Christelow, Eileen.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Houghton Mifflin, [2003]

Physical Description:
1 audiocassette : analog, + 1 book (32 pages : color illustrations ; 24 cm.).
Bert and Ethel try raising pigs on their farm, but when they get to market the pigs have disappeared.
General Note:
Unabridged, dramatized readings.

Read along with page turn signals on side one, no signals on side two.
Reading Level:
AD 630 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 3.4 0.5 43024.

Reading Counts RC K-2 3.5 2 Quiz: 15726 Guided reading level: L.
Subject Term:

Format :
Sound Cassette

Sound Recording


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
CASSETTE KIT 1364 Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
CASSETTE KIT 1364 Juvenile Media Kit Media Kits

On Order



Bert and Ethel have a long truck drive to market, and when they arrive, the pigs they intended to sell have mysteriously disappeared.

Author Notes

Eileen Christelow was born in Washington, D.C., on April 22, 1943. As a child, books were a huge part of Christelow's life: they were always presents for her birthday and Christmas, as well as when she was sick. Much of her childhood was spent reading and rereading them. In high school, Christelow wrote stories for the school magazine, and planned on majoring in English in college. Instead, when Christelow entered her freshman year at college she became interested in art history and eventually found her true passion in photography.

Christelow received her B.A. degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1965, and soon after she began photographing buildings for architects and shooting photo essays on urban life for small magazines. While earning a living as a photographer and graphic designer, Christelow began experimenting with writing and illustrating children's picture books. Her first published book, Henry and the Red Stripes, was inspired by a poster she created for a science museum.

Many of Christelow's books, including Don't Wake Up Mama!, Five Little Monkeys Sitting in a Tree, and Henry and the Dragon, have been named Children's Choice Books of the Year by the Children's Book Council and the International Reading Association. A member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, Christelow has published over a dozen books and her photographs have appeared in publications such as Home, Progressive Architecture, and the New York Times Book Review.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 4-6. Tired of hoeing weeds in the turnip field, farmers Ethel and Bert turn to pig farming, investing in six little piglets to raise and sell for pork chops. As the pigs grow up, Ethel becomes convinced that they can understand human speech and even talk among themselves. Sure enough, as the farmers drive their piggies to market, the clever animals jump out of the truck; swipe clothes from scarecrows, store mannequins, and clothes lines; disguise themselves as people; and board a bus bound for Florida. Children will enjoy watching the animals elude the unobservant (not to say thick-headed) people in the witty, line-and-watercolor illustrations. The text has its own folksy humor, with great read-aloud lines such as "One day, when the pigs were slurping up their slop . . ." A good-natured romp with no real villains, this engaging story will have wide appeal. ~--Carolyn Phelan

Publisher's Weekly Review

In this strategic endorsement of vegetarianism, six pigs foil the folks who would turn them into bacon. Farmers Bert and Ethel, who usually cultivate their gardens, raise half a dozen piglets to sell at auction. But the pigs overhear Bert and Ethel's grim plan, and plot an escape from the pickup truck that's taking them on their final ride. After they chew through a rope that ties the tailgates, the anthropomorphized pork-chops-to-be steal some clothes, disguise themselves and hop a bus to Florida. (Accompanied by a postcard signed, simply, ``Oink!'' the clothes are returned parcel post.) Christelow ( The Five-Dog Night ) contours her characters in ink and adds brightly hued, fluid watercolors. She derives humor from various pigs vs. people scenarios--Bert and Ethel don't realize that their livestock knows what's up, and the escapees, attired in dresses and hats, cross paths with the befuddled farmers many times. The high jinks are like a harmless game of hide-and-seek--just as long as readers forget that the pigs are running for their very lives. Ages 5-8. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 3-Bert and Ethel grow the best vegetables for miles around. Then Bert decides that they should raise pigs instead. His six piglets do well and grow quickly, and, when they overhear plans to take them to market, they plot their escape. And so the fun begins: they get out of the truck two by two, take clothes from a line and from a sidewalk-sale rack, and, thus disguised, board a Florida-bound bus, leaving the baffled Bert and Ethel behind. Months later the post office receives a box from Florida addressed to ``the people missing hats, pants, dresses, shirts...and pigs.'' The pigs have returned everything, along with a postcard to Bert and Ethel with the message, ``Oink!'' The cartoon illustrations, executed in watercolor and pen and ink with a loose, sketchy line and light, bright colors, are filled with humor. Facial expressions are effectively conveyed with just a few dots and lines. The uncluttered composition allows children to focus on essential elements, such as a pig running off with the tailgate bolt and the posters of the lost articles and livestock on a bulletin board in a cafe. Observant readers will laugh as they spot the dressed-up pigs hitchhiking, walking around town, blending in with the townspeople. Even the endpapers are jolly. The lively, funny text employs vigorous verbs and moves along at a rapid pace. Whether listening in a small group or one-on-one, children will chortle over the antics of these clever porkers.-Cynthia K. Richey, Mt. Lebanon Public Library, Pittsburgh, PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.