- Craig Graziano
We’ve probably all had the fantasy of seeing a Pig Parade flicker in our mind at one time or another. Don’t deny it. The orchestra of oinks matched up with little hooves marching down the street, it all just sounds so fun. Well…forget about it.
A Pig Parade is a Terrible Idea, by Michael Ian Black, is a point by point dismissal of what at first seems like an incredibly delightful idea. Pigs are whimsical, funny, and intelligent creatures, but Black, a comedian best known for his commentary on VH1 shows, has found his niche in the picture book world by being the ultimate bearer of bad news.
Music, choreography, and balloon holding are several areas that pigs would fight hoof over snout to neglect so they may do their own piggy-thing, meaning that a highly organized event like a parade would very quickly turn into a complete and utter disaster. In the following passage, Mr. Black focuses on pig costuming, offering a sobering and logical explanation without any sugar-coating whatsoever.
“Pigs absolutely refuse to wear majorette uniforms. Even if you are able to find enough majorette uniforms for all of your pigs (which is a very difficult job in and of itself), just try getting those hundreds of pigs to put them on.”
With common sense on his side, Black weaves an incredibly persuasive argument.
Kevin Hawkes' bleak illustrations of photorealistic swine trying to struggle out of their red coats and majorette hats (with one pig eating its own hat) are the icing on the cake, especially since those pictures contrast with the book’s first three pages in which some very cartoony looking pigs are having an absolute BLAST marching down the street on two legs with fireworks exploding in the background.
Some might be repelled by the number of sad and confused pigs in those realistic illustrations. The stark depiction of trying to force a bunch of pigs to do something that doesn’t make sense to them, and will never compare to a good roll in the mud, is not for everyone. But the people who do find it funny will be in absolute stitches. This book is begging to be read aloud in the most serious voice you can muster, which is a shame because I can’t help but laugh out loud every time I read it…but I will certainly keep trying.
Such a book can rain on my parade any day of the week.