CM . . . . Volume XXIV Number 20 . . . . January 26, 2018
Miles the mole lives underground where he is always by himself. When he smells something lovely coming from above ground, he sees Piggy watering a rose bush, a discovery both intriguing and scary. When Piggy notices Miles, he wants to spend time with the mole. But Miles is shy, and he's not sure he can brave the open air long enough to make a new friend.
Piggy: Let's Be Friends!, by Trevor Lai, continues the story of bookworm Piggy and his woodland pals. When Piggy discovers someone he's never met in the forest—Miles, a shy mole who lives underground—he's determined to make a new friend. He invites Miles to a tea party, but when Miles gets nervous and sneezes (leading to a cake landing on his head), Piggy and his friends decide to bring the tea party underground to Miles's home where he'll be more comfortable.
While this second story in the Piggy series continues the theme of friendship present in the first Piggy book, it would have been nice to see the defining character trait of Piggy as an avid reader continued into this tale. The illustrations do show both Piggy and Miles reading at different points in the story. However, the bond between these two characters has nothing to do with books. Given the reading focus of the first tale (where Piggy ultimately bonds with Kate over their shared love of reading), it would have been interesting if Miles was a character who did not share Piggy's reading habits, or perhaps was someone who didn't know how to read at all. As it is, the story presented here, while a nice tale of friendship, feels fairly generic—any of the characters could have interacted with Miles, instead of Piggy, with the same overall effect.
Lai's mixed media illustrations are a bright and bubbly highlight of this book. Piggy is an emoji come to life, and his happy smile and oversized glasses make him an especially adorable character that readers will delight in rooting for. The forest is a friendly, cheerful place, and some of the scenes set underground are extra large and interesting to view (such as one page that requires the book to be turned sideways for reading).
Although it does feel like it's somewhat lacking in personality, Piggy: Let's Be Friends! is still a cute story with a positive message about friendship. Fans of the first Piggy book, particularly those charmed by Lai's illustrations, will find another enjoyable tale in this second Piggy adventure.
Meredith Cleversey, a librarian in Cambridge, ON, loves to read, write, and live in a world of pure imagination.