HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Ol’ Pigtoes
Author: Kenny Chumbley
Illustrator: Kelli Roos
Publisher: Prairie Papers, 2012
Related website: www.prairie-papers.com (publisher)
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Reading level: Ages 5-8
Rating: 5 stars (EXCELLENT)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Chumbley, Kenny. Ol’ Pigtoes (published in 2012 by Prairie Papers). Who wouldn’t want to live “where the sky is blue, the clouds are white, the sun is golden, and the air smells of apple blossoms and new-mown hay…where roosters cock-a-doodle-doo at the crack of dawn, where chickens cackle when they lay an egg, where cows moo when they’re milked, and all around are fields filled with corn”? The McBean family lives on just such a farm. Mr. and Mrs. McBean have three daughters, Babe, Betty, and Belle. And the three McBean sisters have a beloved pet pig named Francis. Now, Farmer McBean is a stern, hard-working man who doesn’t smile much and is too busy to play with his kids.
One day, there is no bacon for breakfast, so Farmer McBean announces that on the next day he will take Francis down to the cellar and then they would have more bacon. The girls plead with their father to change his mind, but he is too pigheaded to listen. Before going to bed that night, he makes a pig of himself by finishing off the pawpaw pudding. During the night, he wakes up and hears a mysterious, spooky voice coming from the cellar that keeps saying, “Ol’ Pigtoes.” What in the world is it? And what will happen to Farmer McBean when he goes to investigate? Author Kenny Chumbley, a gospel preacher and college friend of mine who also wrote The Gospel Argument for God: The Argument for God’s Existence Based upon the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, says that from his earliest days he heard the story of “Ol’ Pigtoes” as told by his grandparents, father, uncles, and aunts.
Kids will absolutely adore this story along with Kelli Roos’s fascinating, full-color illustrations that capture both the loveliness of the McBean farm and the scariness of Farmer McBean’s experiences. Also, adults will appreciate the humor of the language. But even more, there is an important message. “Now, I’m not telling you that this story ever happened. But I am telling you that it happens all the time. In fact, it happens every time a daddy learns that his most important job is not putting food on the table but putting love in his child’s heart. A father’s job is very simple. It is to love his children all day, every day, to the very end of his days.” Amen! We certainly need more of that. Two thumbs up for Ol’ Pigtoes.