The Unlikely Story of a Pig in the City by Jodi Kendall

The Unlikely Story of a Pig in the City
by Jodi Kendall
(Harper ~ October 3, 2017)

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Adorable and appropriate for a wide-ranging middle grade audience, this book will be sure to delight readers, especially animal lovers. An excellent companion to the book I labeled as so huggable last week! 

Thanks to the author for sharing a copy of this book with Kid Lit Exchange for review purposes.

Book Description

In this modern-day homage to Charlotte’s Web, a little pig in a big city leads to lots of trouble. Can eleven-year-old Josie Shilling save the day?

Josie Shilling’s family is too big, their cramped city house is too small, and she feels like no one’s ever on her side. Then, on Thanksgiving Day, her older brother, Tom, brings home a pink, squirmy bundle wrapped in an old football jersey—a piglet he rescued from a nearby farm. Her name is Hamlet.

The minute Josie holds Hamlet, she feels an instant connection. But there’s no room for Hamlet in the crowded Shilling household. And whoever heard of keeping a pig in the city? So it’s up to Josie to find her a forever home.


This is another one that falls into the “huggable” category for me. The family, the PIG, Josie herself – they are all delightful and make this a hands-down feel-good middle grade read. The city setting is NOT NYC, which is a nice change for those of us and our students who live in middle America – I sometimes worry that my students will think the only city worth writing about is NYC! Josie’s family is realistic and lovable and their money troubles will be so relatable for readers (and the adults in their lives!). Also relatable will be Josie’s anxiety about gymnastics and her ever-increasing height. She goes through a very common “finding herself” journey as she strives to fit her new interests into her life and meld them with her old ones. Pet lovers will rejoice in Josie’s absolute devotion to Hamlet and keeping him safe.

As a school librarian, I recommend this for grades 3 -7 as a read aloud and grades 4/5 and up for independent reading. It’s 100% appropriate for even younger students, but the reading level might be too difficult. There is a Christmas timeline and theme, but Kendall includes mention of Hanukkah as well in reference to one of Josie’s friends, which is a welcome reminder that Christianity is not the only religion and Christmas is not universal.

Highly recommended for school libraries and classrooms, as as a home purchase for any kids who can’t get enough of Charlotte’s Web, pets, and/or gymnastics. Also a great one for kids in a large family.

View all of my Goodreads reviews

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