A collective of bibliophiles talking about books. Book Fox (vulpes libris): small bibliovorous mammal of overactive imagination and uncommonly large bookshop expenses. Habitat: anywhere the rustle of pages can be heard.
You might not have heard of Peppa Pig; I hadn’t, until a few years ago, but these days I find myself reading Peppa Pig books most evenings. They’re not for me. No, they’re definitely not for me; I sometimes suspect myself capable of happily eviscerating Peppa Pig, and I say that as a lifelong vegetarian and animal rights advocate.
Peppa Pig is a wildly popular cartoon about a slightly stroppy female piglet (Peppa), her parents and her younger brother: the dinosaur enthusiast, George. Peppa is opinionated, bossy and inquisitive. Some parents have voiced concerns that Peppa Pig is making their children a bit . . . naughty. Naughtier, maybe. Watching Peppa Pig apparently encourages some children to talk back to their parents, and demand chocolate cake instead of vegetables. Here is an article in The Guardian discussing the phenomenon. This article in The Telegraph is another.
Anyhow, most small children seem to adore Peppa Pig and if a kids’ show has done well, you can bet your bottom dollar that merchandising opportunities will be exploited. Parents may now buy Peppa Pig duvet covers, sandwich boxes, beakers, clothing, lampshades, toothbrushes and more. If it’s possible to print a pink pig on something, it’s likely that somebody already has. There are also iPhone and iPad apps, and of course: delightfully illustrated picture books.
Storytime with Peppa is one such delightfully illustrated picture book, and it has the additional draw of containing six stories in one volume. These future classics are: “Fun at the Fair,” “George’s First Day at Playgroup,” “Peppa Goes Camping,” “Peppa Plays Football,” “School Bus Trip,” and “Peppa Goes Swimming.” The plots of these stories are pretty much self-explanatory. So, what is there to recommend them other than the massive draw of a petulant piglet? Just one thing: the narrative style is so plodding and unexciting that it is capable of sending listeners into a deep and instant sleep, which, as any parent will attest, is no minor accomplishment. One slight drawback, however, is that the book may have the same astonishingly soporific effect on the reader. But, heck, who needs to stay up late to watch the BBC’s latest dramatic offering, when there is the option of falling asleep at 7:32pm?
Ladybird Books. ISBN 978-1-40931-446-2. £9.99. Hardback.