Thursday, March 15, 2012

Picture Book: Hogwash (by Karma Wilson)

Summary of Hogwash (by Karma Wilson)    
One warm day in early May,
Farmer had a plan
To spring-clean all his animals
Till each was spic ‘n’ span.

Sounds like a good plan, right?  It is for all the animals…except the pigs.  They board up their pen and will not let the Farmer in.  Instead, they write him a message using mud:

No hogwash
For us today.
Pigs love dirt—
So go away!

Farmer is not willing to give up so easily though. He decides to spray water through an opening, thinking he is going to give them a shower.  The pigs have a blast---hamming it up and play mud-ball war.   Farmer stomps his feet and yells.  The pigs respond with another mud-inked sign:

Keep your soap
And bucket, Bud.
Thanks for
Making all
This mud! 

This battle and banter goes on for a while until the Farmer wins…in an unexpected and comic fashion.

Karma Wilson has another hit with Hogwash!  The rhyming text is entertaining and witty.  She has taken a simple task and make it imaginative and unique. Jim McMullan’s watercolor illustrations focus on both small and expansive actions as well as the animated expressions.  Jim McMullan often uses a white framing to bring the action into focus in various ways. The watercolor illustrations sometimes only take up a small part of the page.  For instance, in one of the confrontations with a pig and Farmer, the characters contrast against a largely white background to emphasis the clash.  Other pictures, especially as the battle intensifies, become more sweeping and significant.  This barnyard rebellion is sure to get giggles and grins during story time at home or in school.  I recommend Hogwash for ages 3-11, 

Teaching Opportunities:
  • Humor:  discus the ways the text and illustrations work together to create humor
  • Sound Devices:  identify rhyming words and onomatopoeia
  • Unit Study:  use in a study of farms or farm animals
  • Math:  count the pigs on each page
  • Writing:   pretend you are the farmer and try another idea for convincing the pigs to get a bath;  write a short scene that includes what you did and how the pigs responded (as a class, in groups, or independently)
  • Art:  make a pig craft or do a pig related activity (Julie Brown Pinterest)
  • Snack:  create a piggy snack (from iheartcraftythings)


  1. Thanks so much for linking up to my Piggy Snack! I have been browsing through your blog for about 10 minutes and I am so in LOVE! I'm following you now and I've already written down a couple books to get at the library from your reviews. :)

  2. This looks like a great one! Can't wait to check it out!

  3. I just discovered the book and you are right. It is a very entertaining, delightful book. I can't wait to use it with the children and hear their giggles as the pigs outwit the farmer and end up teaching him something new. I will be adding some worksheets and activities to go with it on my "just beginning to get use to blogging" site:

    I will be using it for Kindergarten and grade 1 but as you said, it can be used all the way up in the elementary school.

  4. When you have some worksheets and activities, let me know. I will link this post with them.


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