by Anca Sandu
Peachtree Publishers* March 1, 2014
Age 4 – 8 32 pages
“When Churchill the pig loses his precious tail, his friends help him hunt for a new one. But trying on new tails is so much fun that soon Churchill has forgotten his friends completely. Can Churchill solve the mystery of his missing tail? But more importantly, can he learn to put friendships first?”
“Churchill valued many things in life: smelling beautiful flowers, painting self-portraits, playing classical music, and reading good books.”
Churchill is a proud pig. Nothing unusual about that, as he is a pig and pigs are a proud animal. He loves spending time with his friends Billy and Gruff. Of all the things Churchill loved to do, the things he possessed, or the friends he had, there was one most important thing to Churchill: his small, curly, tail. That tail made Churchill feel great. Then one morning, Churchill woke up to find his precious tail was gone. He searched everywhere but came up empty. Churchill was miserable without his tail. Billy and Gruff came up with a bright idea. They called Zebra, who arrived with a spare tail for Churchill.
Churchill did not think the zebra tail felt right ad decided to try other tails. Churchill’s tail made him feel proud. He lost the feeling when he lost his tail. Maybe Peacock would have a tail that would make him proud once more. The large beautiful peacock tail made Churchill feel beautiful. He decided to try on other tails.
He tried Fish’s tail and could swim. Each tail, from Mouse’s tiny tail to Elephant’s big tail allowed Churchill to do something he could not do with his own tail. Soon, Churchill was so busy trying on tails he forgot about his friends. He just did not have time for them anymore.
I love the play on words in the title, Churchill’s Tale of Tails. Churchill is a happy pig when he had his tail. He did all sorts of things and had time for tea with his friends. When he wakes up missing his tail, he is frantic. Churchill’s good friends try to help him but Churchill becomes so carried away trying on tails he forgets all about his friends and the other things he loved to do. Churchill goes from being a proud pig to a selfish, self-centered pig. It is easy to fall into such a pattern, especially when trying out something new or trying to fix something important, like your missing tail. But Churchill may lose his friends if he does not wake up.
I love the illustrations and all the little details Ms. Sandu included. Churchill wearing a peacock tail is great. All those feathers nearly smother Churchill. Churchill felt strong and brave wearing the tiger tail. One of the best scenes is Churchill behind a dressing divider, with dozens of different tails to try on. How many tails can you recognize? A little fun for kids to do. Ms. Sandu used Adobe’s Illustrator software and added hand-drawn textures and shading. This works well, giving the illustrations a soft, pastel look.
In the end, it is best for Churchill to wear his own tail, if only he can find it. Maybe then, he will remember he has friends and spend time with them. When Churchill finds his tail, he learns a valuable lesson and makes a new friend. He also discovers that his important, proud tail does not mean the same to others. The animal that found Churchill’s tail but, not knowing what it was, he came up with several things it could, then decided against them. In the end, the animal decides Churchill’s tail is useless.
I think young kids will enjoy Churchill’s Tale of Tails. The various tails will keep them entertained as Churchill tries to find the right fit. Kids will love the way Churchill acts with each new tail. The story stresses the importance of friendship and self-identity. Churchill finally gets his tail back, remembers his old friends, and the other things he enjoyed. He needs to ask his friends to forgive him for his selfish behavior. I like that Churchill takes his new collection of tails and uses them to help his new friend. Turns out, tails can be something other than a tail.
Learn more about Churchill’s Tale of Tails HERE!
Also available at Waterstones
*Churchill’s Tale of Tails was originally published in Great Britain in 2012 by Jonathan Cape, an imprint of Random House Children’s Publisher, UK.
CHURCHILL’S TALE OF TAILS. Text and Illustrations copyright © 2012 by Anca Sandu. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Peachtree Publishers, Atlanta, GA.
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