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Hogwash ($16.99, Little, Brown, ages 4-8) written by Karma Wilson and illustrated by Jim McMullan, is reviewed by Lindy Michaels.

 Okay, fine, I’ll admit that Farmer was just a tad obsessive when it came to wanting the animals on his farm neat and clean and tidy.  But don’t we all want our children to be presentable at all times?  And so…

“One warm day in early May,

Farmer had a plan,

to spring-clean all his animals

till each was spic ’n’ span…”

Ah, how I love a rhyming children’s book.  Now, everything went dandily along, as Farmer scrubbed the cats, the dogs, the horses, ducks and cows.  And then… and then, it was time to suds up the… HOGS!  Well, this was easier said than done, to say the least.

“They all dug in and made mud pies.

They had a mud-ball war.

They splished and splashed and hammed it up,

More filthy than before.”

Hey, such is the piggy way.  And no matter how hard Farmer tried to get those hogs clean, he failed each time.  But give up?  Never!  He finally filled his crop dust plane with water and shampoo, hoping to douse them with suds from high above, but, oh, no!  “The engine sputtered.  Just my luck, the farmer muttered…”  And then he crashed right into the middle of a giant, humongous mud puddle.

Was Farmer hog tied by this mucky, slushy, gooey, grubby experience?  Did this clean freak need psychotherapy to resolve his deep seeded hatred of mud and muck?  Let me just say this.  If ya can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em!  A little dirt never hurt anyone.  So the moral of this pig tale is…  it’s time you all go a little hog wild with your kids.  Believe me, they’ll love you for it!

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