Saturday, May 14, 2011

Beatrix Potter Review of Book Nineteen: The Tale Of Pig Robinson

Name of Book: The Tale of Pig Robinson
Author/Illustrator: By Beatrix Potter
What It's All About:  Old Betsy sends her cat Susan down to wait for the fishing boats to come in at the end of a day in a little fishing village.  Susan gets fish from old Sam, Betsy's old husband.  We travel away from the characters in the town to the farms on the hillside of Devonshire where Little Pig Robinson lives on Piggery Porcombe Farm with his two aunts, Miss Dorcas and Miss Porcas. They send 'Little' Robinson to Stymouth for their shopping because they are too big to fit through the stiles themselves.  Robinson sells his wares and purchases the things he must bring back to his Aunts, and Old Betsy (you'll remember her) helps Robinson gets the darning wool he needs.  But oh, when he goes to get a bit of celery seed he finds himself in dire trouble, for the sailor who promises him help is a ship's cook who lures him onto a ship! On board, Robinson is fed well and cannot figure out why the yellow tabby cat keeps hinting that perhaps he should not eat so much.  It is a dark day when Robinson overhears what he is being fed for, but he is saved by the tabby cat who helps him escape in a little rowboat.  Robinson lands on an island of Bong trees and there he lives happily ever after.  We are told to read Robinson Crusoe or speak to the Owl and the Pussycat who honeymooned on the island for a longer description of that lovely place.  Friends from Stymouth came and visited Robinson and found him quite content.
My Favorite Bit: I confess that this book is also not one of my favorites.  The story makes a great deal more sense now that I am reading it as an adult but it holds little more to recommend it.  I really enjoy when the pig is on board the ship because I feel that the story now has a point and flow that goes well, but prior to that it tends to meander and seems more like an idea than a story with an arc.  My favorite bit must be the cat helping Robinson escape.  He thoughtfully fills the boat with things the pig will need (including an armchair), and makes a point to put holes in all the other rowboats so that the sailors cannot come after the pig. 
Suitable Age For Reading It To: Let your older children read this by themselves and keep to the charming short stories for the younger ones.  Robinson shall be understood better by a seven year old than a three or four year old.

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