Friday, July 17, 2015

"I Know A Wee Piggy" author, Kim Norman

Written by: Kim Norman
Illustrated by: Henry Cole

Guest blogger: Kim Norman

Wee Piggy, that colorful scamp, comes with me to every school I visit. Kids love the book – especially Henry Cole's hilarious illustrations – but they also love sporting the brightly colored aprons I bring along for students to wear onstage as I read the book. Of all my books, I think I KNOW A WEE PIGGY is one of the most fun for children to interact with. As you read it to your own children, you'll notice they'll begin to guess the color coming up on the next page.

I love that we don't need fancy gadgets to read to our kids, and that books can be read anywhere… even on the kitchen floor! I was delighted to find a YouTube video of a young dad reading I KNOW A WEE PIGGY to his children while sprawled on the kitchen floor. With a little girl on one knee and a little boy on the other, he sends both kids into fits of laughter as he waits, with great suspense, to turn each page. When he does, the kids explode into giggles, waiting for the next page turn. The girl's a bit older, so I'm proud that she clearly knows the book well, calling out the next color while waiting for her mischievous dad to turn the page.

When it comes time for Q&A at the end of my school programs, students sometimes tease me. "You must really love pigs!"… because I KNOW A WEE PIGGY is not my only book that features pigs. I live in Smithfield, Virginia, "The Ham Capital of the World." Like the famous painted cows in Chicago, Smithfield boasts barn animal statues, too: life-sized pigs, painted with vivid scenes and designs. One of them colorfully guards the entrance to Windsor Castle Park, only a few hundred yards from my front door. I wave to him every morning as I walk my dogs. So I probably do think about pigs more often than other writers do.

Colorful painted pig at Windsor Castle Park

I can also brag that, as a young child, I participated in an old fashioned "greased pig contest," at a county fair. Most summers when I was a child, we visited my grandparents in Maine. One summer, my two brothers and I had our names drawn, along with nine other children, to participate in this messy, muddy contest. There were twelve kids and only ten pigs, but somehow, my brothers and I all managed to catch one a piece! When my parents allowed us to enter the contest, they didn't think to ask what we would DO with the pigs if we caught them. We were camping on a lake!

The rest of the evening is the stuff of family legend. We tethered those three little pigs to a pine tree, but that evening, one got away and headed for the lake. Maybe, like dogs, baby pigs know how to swim, but we'll never know. My mother made a heroic leap and caught THAT Wee Piggy just before he "wallowed in blue" lake water! The next day, my grandfather drove us to a friend's farm where we each sold our pigs for ten dollars each. I bought a watch with my riches. Sometimes, I really wished I'd kept that pig instead.

At least he lives on, years later, in my colorful Wee Piggy.

About the author: Kim Norman is the author of more than a dozen children's picture books. In Smithfield, Kim’s parents restored a Victorian home in which her father left one deliberate flaw: a hole in the first floor ceiling for her dad’s pet raccoon to stick its upper body through, hang from, and wave at you. Yes, really.



A fun day at the fair becomes color chaos when one boy's energetic pig gets loose. Upside down, piggy wallows in brown, but that's only the beginning of this cumulative, rhyming text. Soon, he's adding a rinse of red (tomatoes), a wash of white (milk), a pinch of pink (cotton candy), and many more. Can piggy be caught before he turns the whole fair upside down?
With exuberant art by Henry Cole, this wild pig chase is a natural choice for teaching colors and begs to be read aloud.

Publisher Credit:
I Know A Wee Piggy” is published by Dial Books for Young Readers, a division of: Penguin Young Readers Group, 345 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014

Used with Permission

Copyright Notice:

Text Copyright © 2012 by Kim Norman. All rights reserved.
Illustrations © 2009 by Henry Cole. All rights reserved.