Being a Pig is Nice - Thao Lam
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Being a Pig is Nice

Being a Pig is Nice

Being a Pig is Nice

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These days, social graces seem to be as fashionable as sporting a mullet. I travel around the city by public transit, and what better way to observe manners than to join the million or so Torontonians on their daily commute. Within this city, you’ll find a diverse group of people differentiated along lines of ethnicity, education, gender and age. Now before we go pointing fingers (which by the way is rude) or stereotyping a certain group, let me tell you that, sadly, rudeness happens across the board. Keep reading…

I have seen a pregnant woman or an elderly person left standing on a packed train (if you see this, do please offer up your seat). I have had to endure questionable musical tastes (turn the volume down, not everybody is a fan of Steve Tyler or Celine Dion) and loud phone conversations (for god’s sakes, don’t dump your girlfriend over the phone on a public transit), all thanks to my fellow commuters. I could go on quite a rant about the lack of manners and common courtesy I have experienced over the years, even more so than I already have.

To sum it all up, people are so tuned out to what’s around them that they’re forgetting we are all sharing public space.

Manners can be sexy. Case in point: I was on a crowded train and at one of the stops, an elderly lady, who was using a cane, stepped on. A young gentleman (a very fitting title in this case) offered up his seat. A couple of stops later, as the lady got up to leave, this same gentleman offered his hand to help her out of her seat. I can honestly say my heart melted. It didn’t matter what he looked like or if his socks matched, I wanted his number – or at least his mother’s phone number, so I could thank her for instilling such wonderful manners in her son.

To be courteous to the people around us means being a little less self-centered than maybe we’d like to be. Being a Pig is Nice: A Child’s-Eye View of Manners, written by Sally Lloyd-Jones and illustrated by Dan Krall, tackles all the little sacrifices we make in order to get a long with others. Tired of minding her manners, a little girl imagines what it would be like to be an animal, for whom misbehaving would be considered a good thing. If she was a pig, she could be as dirty as she wants to be, or if she were a monkey, there would be no such thing as table manners.

I wish the story were as witty and humorous as the illustrations. I admit, I bought the book based on its cover. Krall is a wizard at Photoshop, and I remember my friend and I debating back and forth in Chapters (a book store) whether the illustrations were traditionally or digitally executed. Using Photoshop, Krall created illustrations that mimic traditional mediums like crayons, pastels and paints. In some places, it looks like the art was scratched into a sharp tool, which created wonderful textures.

Being a Pig is Nice, a children’s book review by Thao Lam

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Author Sally Lloyd-Jones

Sally Llyod-Jones was born in Kampala, Uganda. She studied in Britain before moving to America in 1989. Lloyd-Jones worked in the children’s publishing industry for several years before leaving in 2000 to write full time. She lives in Manhattan, where you can find her enjoying her favourite pastimes, running and photography.

To read more on Sally Lloyd-Jones, please visit her website:

Illustrator Dan Krall

While there is not a lot of information out there about Dan Krall the person, you can find many of his illustrations on the web. Krall spent many years at the Cartoon Network, where he worked on many shows, including Dexter’s Laboratory (a hilarious show by the way). He lives in Los Angeles and Being a Pig is Nice is his first picture book.

I am always tickled pink when an author or an illustrator, takes time out of their busy schedule to reply to a fan mail.

“Being a Pig is Nice was my first Children’s Book, ordinarily I work in Animated Television and Film. Illustrating a Children’s Book was very fun and challenging. One of the things about working in animation is that it’s a very collaborative effort, there are always from dozens to hundreds of people working on one project so you always have a small part in it and let someone else take it from there. Doing a book was a lot of fun and challenging because there was no one to pass if off to, I had to figure out every aspect of it (with help from the art director and editor of course). It was a very enjoyable experience and I’m working on some more right now which will be released in 2011 and 2012, I also have my first Author/Illustrator credit coming out in September 2010 called “Absolutely Beastly Children” It’s a rhyming ABC book where each letter of the Alphabet stands for a badly behaved child.”

– Dan Krall –

To read more on Dan Krall, please visit his website:

Publisher Schwartz & Wade (May 12, 2009)

ISBN-10 0375841873

ISBN-13 978-0375841873