Title: Pigs Might Fly
Author: Emily Rodda
Genre: Magical Realism
Published: 19th June 2017 (originally published 1986)
Synopsis: The award-winning classic by internationally renowned author Emily Rodda.
Pigs can’t fly. Can they?
‘I wish something would happen!’ said Rachel. ‘Something interesting!’
Afterwards, she would remember what she’d said and how she’d felt, that rainy Saturday morning, and she would think, ‘That was really the beginning,’ and her stomach would give a little jolt, and the tips of her fingers would tingle. But at the time she didn’t know what was in store. All she knew was that she was bored. Bored with having a cold and having to stay in bed. Bored with the rain drumming on the roof. If only something unlikely or unexpected would happen for a change. Something exciting – something wonderful.
‘Maybe it will!’ her father said, ‘And pigs might fly!’
Rachel is in bed with a cold, longing for something interesting to happen. She’s bored and wants to have some fun. When Sandy gives her a picture, she soon finds herself travelling on a unicorn across a strange land where everyone seems to be confused, and thinks she is someone else. She’s thrust into a world where everyone hunkers down when pigs fly – known as a grunter – because strange things happen, and nobody can explain what is going on at the time,
First published in 1986, this award-winning book is aimed at middle grade readers, and has a timelessness about it that I’m sure we can all relate to – being bored, not having anything to do and wishing for something interesting to happen. When it does, she is taken by surprise.
This is a gentle adventure story, where things happen slowly but surely. Rachel’s focus is how to get home, nothing more. She has had a taste of something interesting. I read it this year as it caught my eye and ticked off two challenge categories in the process. It is the kind of book I would have found in my school library, and even though it has a very eighties or nineties feel, it is the kind of book that has stood the test of time and could perhaps become an Australian classic.
The gentle feel of this book doesn’t make it slow – I devoured it within days, because I had to find out if Rachel made it home and how. This driving aspect of the novel gives it the action that it needs to keep the reader interested. Lately I have been reading mostly new books, especially during the year we’ve had for review and my Isolation Publicity, where I have tried to read as many books as I can from those who participated. So it was nice to read an older book, and compare it to newer books. It allows readers to escape just as much as the latest fantasy epic or latest novel in a series that is action-packed, just at a slower pace that pulls back on what we tend to expect from books these days.
Sometimes these slower books are just what we need. In these times, I find a mix of slow and fast books has been lovely to read, as it allows me to experience a wide array of stories and I hope that kids and all readers will still enjoy this one thirty-four years on.