‘Pow Pow Pig: An Unexpected Hero’ by Anh Do (Review)

Well, Australian writer Anh Do is a very busy man indeed, and not content to work on the four series he’s already got on the go (Wolf Girl, Rise of the Mythix, Skydragon and E-Boy), today sees him introducing another hero to the world.  However, this book, the first in what will inevitably become another exciting series, is a little different.  You see, the focus here is on animals, and while the themes and action might be familiar, you can’t really say the same for the stars of the show.  Luckily, we received a review copy from Allen & Unwin, and Hayley’s here to explain what it’s all about 😉

What’s the name of the book, and who is it by?
The book is called Pow Pow Pig: An Unexpected Hero, and it’s written by Anh Do and illustrated by Peter Cheong.

What’s it about?
It’s about a team of animals that live in the year 2050.  They are part of CHOC (Creatures Helping Other Creatures), which is an organisation to help other animals, and when there’s a war that will end the world, Piccolo Pig and his friends must travel back to the past to convince all the animals to help the poor again!

Did you like it?  Why (not)?
Yes, of course, because it was about animals, and it was different from other Anh Do books because they travel in time.

What was your favourite part?
My favourite part was probably when they introduced Piccolo’s team, also known in CHOC as the Z Team.  They also give each other cool names, such as Pow Pow Pig, Kung Fu Duck and Cha Cha Chicken!

Was it difficult to read?
No, because there weren’t many words on each page, so this might be suitable for young readers.

Would you recommend this book to other boys and girls?  Why (not)?
Yes, especially if they like animals, of course!  And also I think it’s a great start for young children for chapter books.

Hayley, thank you very much 🙂

As Hayley said above, this new series is probably aimed at slightly younger children than many of Do’s projects.  Certainly, at times it seems Do is merely there to add context to Cheong’s action illustrations of farmyard showdowns!  However, there is a storyline, too, and this first book sets up the series nicely, introducing a likeable bunch of protagonists and sending them off on a mission that might take some time.

The essence of Pow Pow Pig is that a world populated by animals is no different to ours when it comes to politics and greed:

Things weren’t always like this.  The world used to be an *awesome* place full of happy animals.  But in 2030, a TERRIBLE THING happened… the rich animals of the world voted to STOP HELPING THE POOR.
pp.4/5 (Allen & Unwin, 2021)

Alas, even that’s not enough to keep the rich happy, and when a catastrophic war begins in 2050, the only way to save the world is for CHOC to send some plucky heroes back in time to avert the crisis before it begins – except that the only people available back at HQ are the Z Team, mainly responsible for cleaning…

The rest of the book then follows the four friends on their adventures as they stumble into the wrong time period and are forced to help find a missing princess while their solar-powered time machine (just as small on the inside as it is on the outside) recharges.  Pow Pow Pig, Kung Fu Duck, Cha Cha Chicken and Barry the Goat (he prefers his given name…) use their cleaning equipment to tackle brawny buffaloes and lizard guards (with huge hammers).  Will they save the day?  Well, it’s a book for nine-year-olds, so I’m sure it’ll all end well 😉

Do’s latest romp is a fun cross between Doctor Who and Kung Fu Panda, one that younger readers are sure to enjoy, and with the inevitable cliff-hanger on the final page, you can be sure that the adventures will continue next time.  And while young readers are waiting for the next episode, they can use the stickers provided to add a Pow Pow touch to their school books.

I could add more, but I’d better leave it there for today.  You see, Hayley’s picked up some bad ideas from the book, and I have to stop her before she does some serious damage.  I really don’t think primary-school kids should be wielding mops that close to the TV…

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