My two granddaughters, ages 7 and 3, both loved Deborah Underwood’s new book for kids, Granny Gomez and Jigsaw. There’s no rocking chair in sight at Granny Gomez’ house! She is one hip, happening grandma who plays drums, climbs mountains, and loves jigsaw puzzles.
But despite all these interests she’s a bit lonely. Her young neighbor says she needs a special pet and gives her a baby pig. When Granny tries to return it, she learns that the pig will end up as “somebody’s breakfast.” Vowing that no one will eat this pig, she brings him back home.
Granny and the pig hit it off immediately. They eat watermelon and watch cooking shows together. The pig helps Granny pick up her puzzle pieces when they fall on the floor, inspiring Granny to name him “Jigsaw.” But pigs grow pretty fast, presenting Granny with a dilemma about where to keep Jigsaw. Her DIY solution makes this story a winner in my book! I won’t spoil the ending—you’ll have to read it yourself.
Underwood’s whimsical sense of humor and imagination make the reader care about Granny and her pet pig. She also breaks the stereotype of elderly women sitting around in rocking chairs and knitting. Granny’s cool, she’s current, she’s self-reliant, but she wants to share all her fun stuff with a pal and who says it has to be human! Scott Magoon’s detailed illustrations make it fun to linger on the pages and notice all the nuances of the story.
A long-time animal advocate, Underwood got the inspiration for her story from a real-life pig named Babe that she adopted at Farm Sanctuary in California. From her visits to the farm, Underwood learned that pigs form very close friendships with people. So it seemed perfectly logical that Granny could have a pig as her friend.
The story reminded me of a friend who raised a potbelly pig in her backyard. When I told my granddaughters, we had a wonderful conversation about what kinds of animals would make good pets.