The Marzipan Pig
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The Marzipan Pig

Russell Hoban, Quentin Blake

From the inimitable team of Russell Hoban and Quentin Blake, the pair behind Captain Najork and The Twenty Elephant Restaurant, comes an enchanting story of a little pig made of marzipan.

Fallen behind the sofa, nobody hears the lost marzipan pig’s cries for help. And, after many months, a mouse discovers him and eats him up, having never known such sweetness. But a longing to be loved passes from the marzipan pig to the mouse and so begins a curious chain of events featuring a dancing owl, a glowing taxi meter, a buzzing bee and a pinky-orange hibiscus flower all triggered by the little lost marzipan pig.

Each encounter more wonderful and more romantic than the last, just how far will the marzipan’s sweetness travel?

Review

What struck me immediately about this little treasure was I couldn’t help reading it aloud. There’s a magical rhythm, almost a poetry, which sings off the page. Russell Hoban has distilled the exploration of love, yearning, loneliness and even mortality into this poignant tale, an unlikely adventure brimming with meaning and a delightful humour.

It begins with the pining of a marzipan pig, lost behind a sofa until he’s eaten by a little mouse. And then, in a curious turn of events, the pig’s yearning is transferred (and seemingly amplified) in the mouse. Every subsequent encounter is a little experience of life’s conundrums: the loneliness of a grandfather clock, the love of an owl for a taxi meter, the dance of a mouse in the moonlight. Cleverly, the story pivots back to another marzipan pig!

Refreshingly original, The Marzipan Pig, is an imaginative, playful adventure with a fable-like quality; sad yet funny and curiously beautiful. Russell Hoban’s masterful prose with its light, deft touch is brought to life with Quentin Blake’s dynamic and witty illustrations on every page. This is a wonderful read-aloud story to share with the family or a classroom; and perfect for an independent reader aged 8+ who loves a quirky tale.


Athina Clarke is the children’s book buyer at Readings Malvern.**

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