From escape artist to protector
This children’s book for grades 1 – 3 charmed me. It’s the perfect book for an adult to read to or with children. The story opens on Farmer White’s woodsy little farm, a place where animals with frazzled nerves to come and heal. On this farm, the animals seem almost human.
Miss Merino, a wise sheep, tells stories that have lessons for the young barnyard animals. These stories explore values and give lessons about fences, boundaries, and rules. And so she begins telling a story about Sassy Pants, who was once a young rebellious piggy.
Sassy Pants begins life as a teeny piglet in Farmer White’s and Mrs. White’s big house where she has a great feeling of belonging. When she gets old enough, she’s brought to the pig pen on the farm where her mother and her father Boss Hog live. She’s intimidated by Boss Hog’s scary looking tusks and his mean sounding deep voice. Sassy Pants wants to go back to the big house and becomes a little escape artist…unaware there are wild predatory animals beyond the fence in the nearby forest who would love to eat a little piggy.
In addition, she becomes a bully to other animals at the farm and is rude and disrespectful to Boss Hog (her dad). In the section titled “The Last Amend” Sassy Pants apologizes to Boss Hog and they forge a new father-daughter relationship. She also begins doing helpful deeds for other animals at the farm. Her dad has been walking the fence for years and telling Farmer White if there are any weakness that would allow wild predators inside. One day he takes her with him to walk the fence because he feels her former fence escape artist tactics (skills) would make her the perfect one to take over for him in walking the fence as he is getting older.
My favorite part of the story is when her dad wants to change her name to Petra, the rock. She no longer feels like the escape artist, disrespectful little piggy. She feels transformed into a new creature, so she agrees to the name change.