Sky Pig Reviews

CM MagazineSkyPig_Website

“…Sky Pig is an inspirational story of two friends who have the courage to dream big and the persistence to see it through…Del Rizzo has created a series of tiny masterpieces in illustrating this book.”

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“A whimsical story about a pig named Ollie, who wants to fly, and his best friend, Jack, who wants to help him succeed. Of course, pigs can’t fly, but Ollie’s determination to try and try and try sends a clear message to the reading audience—never give up on your dream and keep on trying to achieve it. Jack’s determination to help Ollie in his quest speaks to the importance of the champion who provides the support the questor needs to keep going. At the end of the story, Ollie does get to fly in a hot air balloon and complete his quest the best way he can.

Sky Pigis delightful, not only for the story and its life lesson, but also for the colourful, mixed media illustrations which help provide the depth and breadth of the book. There is nothing flat in the story or in its presentation. Pre-readers will be able to tell a story from the beauty and texture of the illustrations of the pig who tries to fly and his help who cheers him on. This picture book is highly recommended for whole class reading, individual reading, as well as for students learning about and experimenting with art forms and art media.

Thematic Links: Determination
Rating: E”
—Sharon Armstrong

Publishers Weekly

“Pigs and flying are the stuff of idiomatic legend, but a porker named Ollie is determined to make it happen in this offbeat story from Coates (Rocket Man) and Del Rizzo (Gerbil, Uncurled). With help from a young human friend, Jack, Ollie tries several methods of getting airborne, such as strapping branches to his body like wings and creating a parachute/kite hybrid. Every attempt ends with an ‘oooooomph!’ and a “plop!” Del Rizzo stages the action in three-dimensional mixed-media scenes made from plasticine, clay, and other materials, capturing the imaginative energy Jack and Ollie bring to the task (one impressive set of wings features steampunk-style gears and straps) and the stinging defeats Ollie suffers. By the fourth time readers see the pig banged up from a fall, though, they’ll probably be ready for the story to move on, which it does with the arrival of a hot-air balloon.”

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Midwest Book Review

“Suzanne Del Rizzo’s plasticine art brings a different visual perspective to this children’s picture book of a pig who wants to fly….Good reading skills or parental read-aloud assistance will lend to this fun saga of a determined pig and his supportive friend.”

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Quill & Quire

“All Ollie the pig wants is to fly. His friend, Jack, makes him wings out of duck feathers, a parachute out of a burlap sack, and even sends him careening down a hill with a clutch of umbrellas….Illustrator Suzanne Del Rizzo uses Plasticine, polymer clay, and mixed media to create her 3-D images.”

CanLit for LittleCanadians

“…Dreamers can dream but, with a friend like Jack, Ollie’s dream that a pig could fly comes true.  It takes a little determination, a lot of imagination and being in the right place at the right time but Ollie’s dream, courtesy of Jack’s friendship and piggy bank, becomes a reality.  Jan L. Coates’ story is uplifting like much of her previous work…and even more so with Suzanne Del Rizzo’s spectacular art…The doughy art (plasticene with polymer clay) with mixed media collage features adds the textures and colour to elevate the story even higher.”—Helen Kubiw

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International Literacy Association

“This child-friendly story provides a message about persistence and friendship while the illustrations, created with plasticine, polymer clay, paper collage, and various found objects including milkweed fluff and watch gears, are particularly eye-catching.”

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Kids’ BookBuzz

“…I really liked Sky Pig but I think the illustrations were my favorite part. They were made out of plasticine, paper, fuzz, and even watch gears. The illustrations were so detailed, I couldn’t stop looking at the pages. These illustrations make me want to make my own plasticine pictures. I really like looking for the mouse and chicken with her egg on every page. I like that even when Ollie failed over and over again, he kept getting up and trying new ideas to help him fly. His friend Jack was a very good friend who was always there to help Ollie follow his dreams.”
—Jewel, Age 8

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Youth Services Book Review

“This is a story of a pig and his friend, Jack. Jack helps Ollie as much as he can, but when he realizes that pigs just can’t fly, he comes up with an idea that makes everyone cheer. The illustrations are made from plasticine, polymer clay…They’re creative and fun and children will be able to recognize milkweed fluff and watch gears in the pictures. This is a great story of never giving up and one of friendship.

Anything you didn’t like about it?  I liked everything about this book.

To Whom Would You Recommend this book? This is recommended for ages 3-6. The pictures are large and the text is simple, so it would make a great read-aloud for a young audience at a story time….

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles?  Yes”
Sandra Pacheco, ESL teacher, Washington, D.C.

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