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Summary: Walter desperately wants to please his dad, but communicating with his father was difficult for both of them. On his tenth birthday, Walter’s parents decided to give him a special present: a pig they named Cousin John. Cousin John was a member of the family, and he and walter had many adventures. Follow along to see how Walter and his dad became special friends, too. This is a middle-grade adventure set in 1932.
Type of Reading: bedtime story, family reading, anytime reading, independent reading, read aloud book
Recommended Age: read together: 8 to 12; read yourself: 11 and up
Interest Level: 8 to 13
Reading Level: 5.3
Age of Child: Reviewed by students at North Junior High School, St. Cloud, MN, as part of the Use Your ABCs program.
Young Reader Reaction: I picked this book because the cover had a pig and a bunch of dogs on it, and I like animals. The story looked interesting. I liked this book. It was fun to read and very interesting to see what was going to happen next. It was a very loving book. After the first chapter I wanted to keep reading. I like books that take place on farms and in this book the first chapter was about the Walters family farm.
Adult Reader Reaction: This is, first and foremost, the story of a young boy’s strained and painful relationship with his father. I wish there were more authors like this one.
Pros: This is a well-crafted story that will help teens and parents make some sense out of the angst of adolescence. Student reviewer: This book is fun for all ages and it is a heart-warming story about a boy and his pet pig.
Borrow or Buy: BUY. It is exceptionally well written. The reader will appreciate the humorous adventures Cousin John gets into, as well as Walter’s successful efforts at gaining his father’s pride and respect. This book is an asset for the preteens bookshelf, the public library, or the classroom library. Student reviewer: I would buy, too. All schools should have this for a fun book to read for kids who are all caught up with their work and for fifth graders to read as a class project.
Educational Themes: This book provides parents and preteens with information about what is going on in their lives. The author has done an excellent job creating real, humorous, and believable book that focuses on issues and concerns of preteens. Teachers, parents, and counselors can use the book as a guide for discussion of issues that affect preteens and their parents.
Notes: The publisher donated a copy of this book to the Reading Tub, Inc. This is an unsolicited donation.