Hello, friends! Our book today is Little Joe Chickapig: A Story About Following Your Dreams, written by Brian Calhoun and illustrated by Pat Bradley and Calhoun.
Joe is a Chickapig – a half chicken, half pig hybrid creature – who lives on a farm with his family. All Joe has ever known was the farming life, yet he dreams of more, longing to be an adventurer and explorer instead. As far as he knows, he’s the only one in his family who feels that way, with the exception of his grandpa, who was once a great seafaring adventurer himself. Once night, Joe asks his mother how his Grandpa found the courage to leave his roots, and she explains that he was inspired by the story of a bear who, despite being fearsome, wanted nothing more than to be a doctor who helped other animals. In turn, the bear was inspired by a humble mouse who became an astronaut, who was herself inspired by a dragon who left her castle to become a rock star. And in fact, the dragon was inspired by a noble warrior chickapig, just like Joe, who left a life of battle to fulfill his dream: starting the very farm that Joe lives on. His mother says that dreams are worth chasing… one just has to be brave enough to begin the chase.
Lovely! Inspired by the board game created by Calhoun, the story takes a classic theme of going after big dreams and gives it a fresh twist and look. The idea of being inspired by others to find one’s inner courage is a great one, and the cleverly circuitous storyline introduces it to younger readers in a simple yet entertaining way. The art is a great blend of visually unique characters that are cute-yet-slightly-odd against simple backgrounds that include nods to fans of the board game. The text does falter in places, with an occasionally clunky rhyme that shakes the cadence, but the enjoyable message and repeating refrain forgive this easily. The length is great, and JJ loved it! A delightfully unique take on a timeless message, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!
(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by a representative of the author in exchange for an honest review.)