Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 4 to 7
- Grade: k to 2
Ollie the pig dreams of flight, and enlists his human friend Jack to help him build wings, kites, and other clever contraptions to reach the sky.
First Jack and Ollie try the leafy branches. Then a giant kite. Idea after idea, invention after invention, boy and pig drag them all to the top of the highest hill. Then Ollie runs as hard as ever a pig could run, until his trotters lift from the ground and—Crash! In Sky Pig, Jan Coates weaves a story of sweetness and whimsy, ingenuity and empathy. Plasticine artist Suzanne Del Rizzo brings dimension and energy to the tale of a pig who wants—against all popular truisms—to fly.
He may never reach the sky on homemade clockwork wings, but Ollie still dreams as hard as ever a pig can dream. And Jack, a true friend, realizes that just because a pig can’t fly in the ways they have tried doesn’t mean he can never soar.
An uplifting picture book for anyone who has tried and tried again.
About the authors
Jan L. Coates is the author of numerous books for young readers, including A Hare in the Elephant's Trunk, a finalist for the Governor General's Literary Award and the Ann Connor Brimer Award, as well as a USBBY Outstanding International Book. Her middle grade novels have been finalists for the Ann Connor Brimer Award, the Violet Downey Award, and the Hackmatack Children's Choice Award. Sky Pig received the 2017 Lillian Shepherd Award for Illustration and was shortlisted for a Willow Award. She lives, writes, and teaches in Wolfville, Nova Scotia.
Suzanne Del Rizzo has always loved getting her hands messy. She traded her job in scientific research for a career in children’s illustration with her first picture book, Skink on the Brink, which won the SCBWI Crystal Kite Award and was a finalist for the Rainforest of Reading Award. Suzanne’s dimensional illustrations use Plasticine, polymer clay, and other mixed media to bring rich texture and imagination to her books. In 2015, looking for resources to explain the Syrian Civil War to her own children, Suzanne came across an article of a boy who took solace in a connection with wild birds at the Za’atari refugee camp. Struck by the universality of a child’s relationship to animals, she began writing My Beautiful Birds. Her distinctive illustrations also grace Sun Dog, a winner of the IODE Jean Throop Book Award, and Before You Were Born, an acclaimed and touching celebration of new life. Suzanne lives in Oakville, Ontario.
- Winner, Lillian Shepherd Memorial Award for Excellence in Illustration
- Short-listed, Shining Willow Award
- Commended, Resource Links "The Year's Best"
- Commended, Best Books for Kids & Teens
- Commended, Elizabeth's Bird's “Some of the Best Picture Books of 2016 Thus Far (Mid-Year Summary)”
Praise for Sky Pig
2017 Lillian Shepherd Memorial Award for Excellence in Illustration Winner
2017 SYRCA Shining Willow Award nominee
2016 Canadian Children's Book Centre Best Books for Kids & Teens selection
2016 Resource Links "The Year's Best"
"Del Rizzo stages the action in three-dimensional mixed-media scenes made from plasticine, clay, and other materials, capturing the imaginative energy Jack and Ollie bring to the task (one impressive set of wings features steampunk-style gears and straps) and the stinging defeats Ollie suffers."—Publishers Weekly
"All Ollie the pig wants is to fly. His friend, Jack, makes him wings out of duck feathers, a parachute out of a burlap sack, and even sends him careening down a hill with a clutch of umbrellas....Illustrator Suzanne Del Rizzo uses Plasticine, polymer clay, and mixed media to create her 3-D images."—Quill & Quire
"Sky Pig is delightful, not only for the story and its life lesson, but also for the colourful, mixed media illustrations which help provide the depth and breadth of the book...Pre-readers will be able to tell a story from the beauty and texture of the illustrations of the pig who tries to fly and his help who cheers him on. This picture book is highly recommended for whole class reading, individual reading, as well as for students learning about and experimenting with art forms and art media."—Resource Links
"This child-friendly story provides a message about persistence and friendship while the illustrations, created with plasticine, polymer clay, paper collage, and various found objects including milkweed fluff and watch gears, are particularly eye-catching."—ILA Literacy Daily
"Sky Pig is an inspirational story of two friends who have the courage to dream big and the persistence to see it through...Del Rizzo has created a series of tiny masterpieces in illustrating this book."—CM Magazine
"Suzanne Del Rizzo's plasticine art brings a different visual perspective to this children's picture book of a pig who wants to fly....Good reading skills or parental read-aloud assistance will lend to this fun saga of a determined pig and his supportive friend."—Midwest Book Review
"[The illustrations are] creative and fun and children will be able to recognize milkweed fluff and watch gears in the pictures. This is a great story of never giving up and one of friendship."—Youth Services Book Review
"Jan L. Coates’ story is uplifting like much of her previous work...and even more so with Suzanne Del Rizzo’s spectacular art... The doughy art (plasticene with polymer clay) with mixed media collage features adds the textures and colour to elevate the story even higher."—CanLit for LittleCanadians
...I really liked Sky Pig but I think the illustrations were my favorite part. They were made out of plasticine, paper, fuzz, and even watch gears. The illustrations were so detailed, I couldn’t stop looking at the pages. These illustrations make me want to make my own plasticine pictures."—Jewel, Age 8, Kids' BookBuzz