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What if, Pig?

Authored by Linzie Hunter
Illustrated by Linzie Hunter
Published by HarperCollins Publishers

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What If Pig? What if there was a book to help children in nursery and early years to talk about their worries? Perhaps it would help children feel normal and recognise their feelings. What if, Pig? by Linzie Hunter is a good book to use for this.

Pig is an amazing friend. He’s fun, kind and thoughtful. Just like mouse is, anyone would be lucky to have someone like Pig in their lives. But Pig is a worrier. When he decides to organise a party, he’s overcome with an overwhelming worry that he’s made a ‘terrible mistake’. Everything that could go wrong plagues his thoughts… What if? What if? And ‘What if… no one really likes me at all?’ The only thing to do is cancel and pretend he’s sick.

I have always been a worrier. I’d worry about school every evening, worry about friendships, worry about schoolwork and grades. And I still worry. And, like Pig, I can certainly make excuses to not go through with something. Pig, with the help of Mouse, and a cup of tea, is able to leave the house and start talking about his feelings. ‘What if I always feel sad?’. This is the main gist of the story, to talk about your worries. And when all of Pig’s friends share their worries, he, and the reader, realise that we all have hidden worries. They are all able to do this because they trust each other and are in a safe space. Something which should be mentioned when discussing with children.

The illustrations particularly stand out. A lot of thought has been put into their composition. For example, the look of the text and use of colour to represent Pig’s feelings. However, my favourite is the double-spread of Pig and Mouse walking through a dark wood with the text spaced between the trees and sloping downwards. Also, the simple but effective metaphor of rain and sunshine representing feelings works for this age group. And the friendliness of the characters is rather joyful.

A lovely story for a class read-aloud or bedtime. It’s not going to stop children from worrying. I don’t believe a book is able to do this on its own. But it will help readers understand that talking about worries will help and that everyone worries about something. It’s this reason that What If, Pig? is one of the books chosen for the Empathy Lab collection for 2023.

Read for Empathy Collection 2023

This collection is available from our bookseller partner Best Books for Schools