David Elliot, Random House, 32 pages, paperback, $20
Henry the perceptive pig first amused young readers in Henry’s Map (2010). Now Henry has turned his gaze heavenwards. Like many before him, Henry sees the stars forming a pattern, and he rushes to tell the other farm animals. “It’s a great big starry pig running across the sky,” he squeals.
To his surprise (and disappointment) the other animals don’t quite see the pattern that Henry sees in the stars. The sheep see “a sheep’s ear and woolly body.” Henry appeals to the other animals to see his Great Star Pig, but young readers will have worked out what is going to happen next.
Sure enough, the amateur astronomers are soon identifying the Great Star Cow, the Great Sheep of the Stars and what the chickens describe as “Heavenly Hens flying all over the place.” Poor Henry feels he has lost his Great Star Pig but in a clever ending, he regains his porcine vision of the heavens.
David Elliot’s illustrations are always of the highest standard but the bonus here is that we can flick the pages to see the stars as each of the creatures sees them. As we await the rising of Matariki (or the Pleiades or Subaru), this charming fable has much to teach us.
This review first appeared in Your Weekend Magazine on 20th June 2015.