Darcy Pattison’s newest children’s fiction book, Liberty takes place in a fantasy world. Once the characters cross over into a land called Liberty, man and animal understand and work with each other. The animals become humanlike as they use utensils to eat, wear human clothing and have to work to earn money to pay for life’s necessities.
The novel starts out in a barn yard with the arrival of a new pig. SanitagoTalbert is unlike any pig Penelope pig has ever seen. He is a proud Berkshire pig with grand thoughts of breaking out of the pen he lives in to escape to Liberty. With plans to sail the seven seas, he convinces Penelope that life is more than living in a pen. Her life will be spent having litter after litter of piglets who will all be sold for bacon until she is too old. Then she will be taken away too.
Penelope soon realizes that she wants more than living in the farmer’s pen, so she plans to leave with Sanitago. Liberty is far from the farm, but with her mother’s blessing, Penelope and Santiago escape and begin their adventure.
Their travels and adventures are full of dangerous characters. The newly freed pigs need to find out who they can trust and who is dangerous in their brave new world. They have to race for their lives when an evil captain tries to capture them. They’ve found out his secret and he is willing to do anything to keep them quiet.
Pattison creates an interesting setting, reminiscent of colonial America for the pig’s adventures. The characters come alive with her words. I felt sorry for Penelope when she tried to climb the rigging in the ship but had too much trouble since she had hooves instead of hands. It is interesting to see how Penelope and Santiago learn to adapt to get the job done.
The ongoing thread of kindness and generosity is woven throughout this manuscript. The pigs are kind to everyone they meet, often putting themselves in danger to help another animal out of trouble. Their kindness is paid back one hundredfold, but they truly are goodhearted and would have helped others without repayment.
Liberty was a fast-paced work of juvenile fiction. Due to the length, I would suggest 3rd to 4th grade school students might enjoy it more than first or second graders. It could be read to them by an adult at home, teacher at school or a caregiver. There are a few scary parts for younger children, but nothing that would give them nightmares, especially if read to them by an adult.
Darcy Pattison is an award winning of fiction and non-fiction children’s books. Liberty will be available at your local bookstore, Barnes and Nobel and Amazon on July 19, 2016. Pre-order now!
Copyright © 2016 Laura Hartman
DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy for free from NetGalley that I can keep for consideration in preparing to write this content. I was not expected to return this item after my review.