Susan Gal offered up some interesting ideas at the beginning, but chose not to follow those threads. First, she has a whole 1930s moving West theme, which harks to Steinbeck--very ambitious. Second, she has the pigs build a house of bricks
as soon as they reach the West. Isn't there a natural 'third' coming up in this sequence? I'm not saying there's only one possible direction, but I was really hoping for her to take those two things and build on them. There was no building. She even brought explicit allusions to Charlotte's Web and Three Pigs back at the end, but these were even more out of place by then. Other than these allusive qualities, it was just pigs doing things in an idyllic American farm-based community in the 1930s.
Okay, I'm a hypocrite, because I was okay with this romanticism in Frazee's All the World
. Here I just don't care for it, although it was funny to see how she sneaked in the 'drinking from a fruit jar' at the party--too obscure a reference to moonshine for anyone to notice, I guess.
Her drawing and painting are good, and the pigs are cute, the colors and lines in the compositions are consistent with the tone of the story. I expect more than cute, and the story is what needed to carry this forward. As Miles Finch in "Elf" said, "And no farms. Everyone's pushing small town rural. A farm book would just be white noise." This book feels like just one of many in each year's pile just like it.