The Marzipan Pig
by Russell Hoban, illustrated by Quentin Blake
Who but Russell Hoban could weave a tale of life’s pleasures and pain around a candy pig? And who but Quentin Blake could make the most poignant of stories so lighthearted and delightful? In this episodic picture book by an inimitable author illustrator duo, a fantastic chain of events is triggered by the unacknowledged fall of a marzipan pig behind the sofa. We meet in quick succession a heartsick mouse, a lonely grandfather clock, an owl in love with a taxi meter, a worker bee, a fading hibiscus flower, a mouse who greets the dawn dancing, and finally a boy who guesses at the true relations between things. Appealing to the unsentimental yet sensitive nature of children, The Marzipan Pig is exquisitely attuned to the bittersweet wonder of life and to the sentience of all beings.
Hardcover, 48 pages
Children—the least sentimental beings on this planet—will recognize this remarkable book for what it is, a story about the great sweet mysteries of love and mortality.
Hoban gives each [character] here an individual personality, grounding the story so that what might have been bizarre or pretentious is matter-of-fact and affecting. Blake’s watercolors are understated yet so expressive they make an owl’s love for the glowing light of a taxi meter or a worker bee’s kindness to a dying hibiscus flower entirely believable.
—Martha V. Parravano
Hoban’s deft, poetic style is perfect for sharing aloud; Blake’s many humorous illustrations enliven the attractive format. A good choice for young readers who enjoy fantasy.
Exploring the same themes of love and its redeeming power as in The Mouse and His Child, Hoban incorporates humor and adventure in this short, fable-like story. Blake’s charcoal-and-ink drawings charmingly illuminate the text.