24 September 2007

Lost Treasures #2--Pig Pig and the Magic Photo Album

This entry is completely biased, because I am a HUGE fan of David McPhail. So of course I can't imagine how a book as imaginative as Pig Pig and the Magic Photo Album could possibly go out of print. But it has! It seems strange, since David McPhail is such an active and respected author. Which just goes to show that there are no guarantees in publishing. Pig Pig has his own series of books and was already a well-appreciated--if not beloved--character by the time this entry came along. (It has always proven a winner in story time.) The story is deceptively simple: Pig Pig is waiting to have his photo taken. While the photographer fiddles about with his camera, Pig Pig is idly flipping through a photo album, practicing saying, "Cheese!" He looks at a picture of a church, says "Cheese!" to himself, and Voila! Pig Pig is hanging by his suspender strap from the very church steeple in the picture! Pig Pig proceeds to "Cheese!" himself from picture to picture, in and out of trouble, until he finds himself back in his very own living room, covered in chocolate, but safe. Characters hopping in and out of pictures has been covered in James Mayhew's "Katie" series, and the outstanding The Incredible Painting of Felix Clousseau (Agee, Jon.) And the "Zoom" series (Banyai, Istvan) turns the process in on itself by revealing each page to be a smaller detail from the following page, to the extent that the reader has the feeling of jumping into the pictures by pulling back from them. (It's very clever.) As in Mole Music and Drawing Lessons from a Bear, McPhail studies the transforming nature of art--in Pig Pig's case, quite literally! Plus, Pig Pig's picture hopping gives McPhail the opportunity to draw a number of humorous scenarios which would otherwise be completely random and unrelated. Now doesn't that sound like just the sort of book that should be reissued?

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