The Invincibles #1: The Piglet Pickle – Caryl Hart

Illustrations – Sarah Warburton

The Piglet Pickle is the first in an adorable series for younger readers called The Invincibles, which follows the friendship of Antonella Henry and Freddie Spoon, otherwise known as Nell and Freddie Spoon. For some (probably cute) reason, Freddie Spoon is always called by his full name.

We don’t learn about Freddie Spoon’s family in this book but we learn that Nell lives with her parents, an older brother, Lucas, a younger sibling only called Baby (babies not having names seems to be a newish pattern in children’s fiction), and her granny.

During a school field trip to a farm, Nell takes a liking to the smallest piglet and becomes afraid it will be turned into sausage, thanks to Freddie Spoon. At the end of the field trip Freddie Spoon surprises Nell with something in his backpack that is going to cause “Really BIG Trouble”.

There’s a lot of action to keep young readers entertained and the illustrations are a lot of fun. There’s a sweet quirkiness about them and I particularly loved all of the insects with big googly eyes, all of whom seemed very interested in what these best friends were getting up to.

There’s a realistic dynamic between Nell and Lucas, yelling at each other for invading the privacy of their respective rooms and generally being irritating and embarrassing to each other, but able to come together for the common good when the situation calls for it. I’m interested to see how their relationship changes in future books.

I loved when Nell recounts what her brother said to her, replacing the swear word with beep, because she’s not allowed to tell or she’d be swearing as well.

This is the kind of book I would have loved as a kid and am interested in continuing to follow the story. If I had children I’d definitely be buying the series for them. It’s cute and fun and I’d be happy to go straight back to the beginning and read it again.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

A single story in two colour printing this is a lovely beginner-reader series for 5 to 6 year olds which is hilarious and, just about, true to life. In this first story, troublesome twosome Nell and Freddie go on a school trip to a farm, where they pet the animals and learn about how they live, and Freddie smuggles a piglet out in his backpack. He thinks he’s saving it from becoming sausages. So Nell keeps it in her bedroom, gives it a bath and gets it involved in bringing a local crime wave to an end …

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