Pig in the Middle


32 pages
ISBN 1-55041-894-7
DDC jC813'.54




Illustrations by Kirsti Anne Wakelin
Reviewed by Anne Hutchings

Anne Hutchings, a former elementary-school teacher-librarian with the
Durham Board of Education, is an educational consultant.


Pig in the Middle is a family affair. Both author Sally Fitz-Gibbon and
illustrator Kirsti Anne Wakelin (Fitz-Gibbon’s daughter) are all too
familiar with Alzheimer’s disease, which affects Sally’s grandmother
and inspired this story.

Whenever something goes missing at Grandma’s, it is always on account
of pig dancing out to the garden maze and hiding things there. Toasters,
teapots, lace gloves, a rose-printed shawl, kittens, and peppermints
have all gone missing. But now even Grandpa is nowhere to be found.
Fortunately, Emily is there to help.

As Emily and her grandmother set out to track down the missing objects,
Emily makes an imaginative game of the search. Fortified with a picnic
lunch, balloons, and a map, she and Grandma wind their way through the
mysterious maze, having all kinds of exciting adventures en route.
Before long they find the missing items. They also find Grandpa—who is
snoozing in his easy chair—and just in time for his birthday

The affection that Emily so obviously feels for her grandparents and
the care and patience with which she deals with her grandmother’s
confusion make this heartwarming story an excellent choice to share with
children who may have members of their own families suffering memory
loss. The lighthearted, often humorous approach to a serious topic will
appeal even to very young readers. Wakelin’s charming watercolours
don’t just mirror but extend the text and invite careful scrutiny.
Numerous details such as Emily’s encounters with giraffes and zebras
on the way to Grandma’s house and the assorted rabbits and raccoon
that share breakfast with Emily and her grandmother add to our
enjoyment. Recommended.


Fitz-Gibbon, Sally., “Pig in the Middle,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 24, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/22141.