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The Unlikely Story of a Pig in the City

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  377 ratings  ·  115 reviews
In this modern-day homage to Charlotte’s Web, a little pig in a big city leads to lots of trouble. Can eleven-year-old Josie Shilling save the day?

Josie Shilling’s family is too big, their cramped city house is too small, and she feels like no one’s ever on her side. Then, on Thanksgiving Day, her older brother, Tom, brings home a pink, squirmy bundle wrapped in an old foo
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published October 3rd 2017 by HarperCollins
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4.11  · 
Rating details
 ·  377 ratings  ·  115 reviews

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Dana Langer
Mar 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a wonderful story that celebrates siblings, families, caring for animals, girls in competitive sports, coping with anxiety, growing up in the city, friendships, and first crushes. Jodi Kendall's writing is clear and evocative, and the story is told with a warmth and kindness that shows she has her young readers in mind but never condescends to them. (plus, the cover is a magical work of art all on its own!) I can't imagine anyone not falling in love with this book.
Jen Petro-Roy
Apr 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Such a fantastic book. I loved the allusions to Charlotte's Web, and it was really nice to see such a big, supportive family represented.
Breeana Shields
Apr 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2k17-books
This book completely won me over! Jodi Kendall does a beautiful job exploring what it’s like to grow up in a big family—how one moment you can feel invisible and the next so well-understood that your heart is overflowing. Josie is a wonderful, relatable character—she’s grappling with who she is, her changing interests, her big heart, and where she fits in her messy, less-than-perfect, but still loving family.

And Hamlet! I never fell so hard for a pig!

Apr 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved following the main character, Josie, on this journey. Jodi Kendall does an amazing job at making you feel connected to Josie, her large family and her new pig, Hamlet! I easily pictured each scene as though I was a kid all over again experiencing the excitement with a friend! I can't say enough great things about this book!
Meghan Barbieri
Apr 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Jodi Kendall is able to beautifully capture the wide ranging emotions that a young person experiences....insecurity, anxiety, happiness, fear, trepidation, responsibility, and love.

Main character Josie Shilling is very relatable to her readers, both child and adult. As one of five children, she struggles with feeling invisible within her household. She's an 'old soul' who loves animals, gymnastics, and her friends and family. When Hamlet The Piglet arrives, Josie begins to feel a sense of purpo
Cassie Thomas
Jun 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What a heartfelt story full of friendship, finding yourself, love, and most importantly, family. A modern day Charlotte's Web twist. I will highly recommend to my students and specifically those with siblings who may feel invisible sometimes.
Andrea Kwiatkowski
May 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
As I read the story of Josie through the eyes of a middle-grade child, I couldn't help but be swept away by the sweet love between Josie and Hamlet the pig, as well as Josie's desire to be seen and noticed by her family, her insecurities as an athlete, and the trials we can all relate to in youth of figuring out "who we are". I could totally relate to growing up in a loud, chaotic family, where sometimes you want your own space and freedoms, and other times all you crave is attention and love! I ...more
Wendy MacKnight
May 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book is just so sweet and so delightful and so full of just the right MG angst - feeling like no one in your family is getting you, feeling like you'll never succeed at what you love, worried that you won't be able to keep a pig named Hamlet...😃 In The Unlikely Story of a Pig in the City, Jodi Kendall has created a world of lovable characters, especially our heroine, Josie. This book will be loved by children and the adults in their lives and is delightful.
Feb 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
@kidlitexchange #partner —— All opinions are my own.

An incredibly charming story that covers some really great topics!!! It touches on pet responsibility, big families, city life, anxiety in sports, dealing with awkward growth spurts, first crushes, budgets, job loss, and sacrifices. The characters in this book are fantastic. Many readers will be able to relate to Josie and her troubles. I was really touched by the anxiety she works through in gymnastics as well as struggling to not feel invisi
May 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kidlit-read
What a sweet, charming book! I completely fell for and rooted for the main character, Josie, who shows so much courage while dealing with (literal) growing pains, money struggles, and finding her place in her family. The family dynamic is one of the best parts of this book - I so wanted to take a seat at one of her chaotic family dinners and sneak Hamlet and Sugar bites under the table. The characters really stick with you, and you'll enjoy getting a peek into such a complicated but familiar cla ...more
Whitney Gardner
May 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A heartwarming tale of discovering yourself and others, facilitated by an absolutely adorable piglet named Hamlet. The Unlikely Story of a Pig in the City is just what it says, unlikely - but like many unlikely things, very true. The ways the Shilling family has to deal with financial realities, sibling rivalries, and limited time and attention spread thin, rings very true, and I liked how they didn't always get it right the first time. But the family has a lot of love, and it's great to see tha ...more
Apr 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I couldn't put this book down! I can't wait for my children to get a little older so they can read this. It was such a warm and relatable story about a girl who you want your daughter to emulate - thoughtful, determined and kind! You are rooting for Josie and Hamlet every step of the way. I thank Jodi Kendall for celebrating great family values while highlighting the ups and downs of growing up in a big (but supportive!) family. Everyone will be able to relate to the insecurities, anxiety, love ...more
Melanie Dulaney
(Review of digital download from Edelweiss Plus.) "But sometimes in life, the answers to your greatest questions are right there in front of you," says Josie Shilling in "The Unlikely Story of a Pig in the City." Middle-schooler Josie becomes the savior of a discarded runt piglet and must figure out a way to convince her very large, financially struggling family that he should be a part of their family. And she has to do it in a month's time. Along with that task, Josie is trying to deal with he ...more
Kate Olson
Sep 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Adorable and appropriate for a wide-ranging middle grade audience, this book will be sure to delight readers, especially animal lovers.

Thanks to the author for sharing a copy of this book with #kidlitexchange for review purposes.

This is another one that falls into the "huggable" category for me. The family, the PIG, Josie herself - they are all delightful and make this a hands-down feel-good middle grade read. The city setting is NOT NYC, which is a nice change for those of us and our studen
May 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely loved this book and did not want it to end! I was so inspired by the main character, Josie, and the love that she has for her family and for animals. Each time I picked up the book I told myself that I would just read one chapter, but i could never resist going to the next one. Already looking forward to the sequel!
Lorie Barber
What a lovely middle grade book! This homage to the great Charlotte's Web is still unique in its own right, and tells a beautiful story of struggle, change, and family to which all readers can relate. I cried in several places and laughed in even more.
Katie Nelson
Oct 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A heartwarming story about growing up in all its messy reality!

When Josie's brother brings home a piglet at Thanksgiving, her parents insist that it has to go, but Josie isn't willing to give up on the little guy. She strikes a deal: she can keep Hamlet until she can find him a temporary home. But taking care of a pig, especially in a small house in the city, proves to be more difficult than Josie imagined.

There are so many wonderful things about this story. I loved the allusions to Charlotte's
Carlie Sorosiak
Jul 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I genuinely believe this is the next Charlotte's Web. I absolutely adored Jodi Kendall's debut. She writes with such warmth, and this story flows beautifully. Hamlet! I love Hamlet with all my heart! It was also nice to see such a relatable, wonderful family in a MG book. This book is all about love and kindness. I'd recommend it to anyone, young or old, but this is definitely an example of a book that I would've read over and over and over again in middle school. I will read anything that Kenda ...more
Jun 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Josie immediately falls in love with a pig her brother has rescued and brought home. Josie's large family is already crowded in their city apartment so her parents will only let her keep the pig, which she names Hamlet, until she finds him a home. The story of Hamlet is charming, with many connections to the book Charlotte's Web. The story is also about Josie, who being a part of a large family, often feels invisible. This is a lovely book about family and growing up.
Jan 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Thanks to the Kid Lit Exchange for a review copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

Why am I crying about a pig? Why am I crying about a happy story about a pig? These are the questions I asked myself while thoroughly enjoying THE UNLIKELY STORY OF A PIG IN THE CITY by author Jodi Kendall.

The protagonist, Josie, is a 12-year-old gymnast going through a tough time. She’s getting too tall for her sport, her house is jam-packed, and she feels lost in a sea of siblings. When her brother Tom comes
Jarrett Lerner
Nov 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Jodi's book begins with a ridiculously exciting premise -- a boy saves a pig from slaughter and brings her home to his urban Ohio home.That home just so happens to be JAM-PACKED with four other kids, two parents, and a dog. One of those kids is Josie, who is our narrator.Josie, "unnoticed" in her busy home/family, immediately feels a connection with the pig, a runt who was shoved aside by her bigger siblings. Josie's relationship with the pig only grows stronger as the days pass, complicating he ...more
Corabel Shofner
Nov 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: swanky-17s
You had me at pig.
Alexandra Ott
Mar 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Such a charming and heartwarming story! The Shillings are a truly authentic family--both loving and messy--and Josie is a heroine readers will love to root for. A perfect holiday read.
Amber Webb
Jul 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
In her debut novel, The Unlikely Story of a Pig in the City, Jodi Kendall brings to focus family challenges that many children face in this day and age. The family is large, the bills are larger, the house is small and funds are tight. What comes out overwhelmingly in this book is the family that exists both in your home and out and the love, care and concern that is always present even when it isn't explicitly felt.
When a pig suddenly shows up in the Shilling household, it is clear they will b
Nov 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Fans of E.B. White’s classic Charlotte’s Web will enjoy Jodi Kendall's modern twist on the girl-meets-pig story, AN UNLIKELY STORY OF A PIG IN THE CITY. In this charming contemporary MG, we meet Josie Shilling, an animal- and gymnastics-loving middle child in a raucous family of seven. (Nine, if you include Sugar the dog, and Hamlet, Josie's pig.) Josie’s main dilemma—besides feeling invisible—is finding an appropriate home for her ever-growing pet pig, who doesn’t belong in the city, no matter ...more
Jul 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What a charming, heartfelt MG debut! THE UNLIKELY STORY OF A PIG IN THE CITY isn't just a "girl and her pet" book, although the love Josie feels for Hamlet, the pig that wriggles its way into her busy life and into her heart, is palpable and touching. This book also captures Josie's family dynamics in a wonderful way, showing how complicated and difficult and special it can be to be part of a big, messy household. Highly recommend this one for kids who like realistic, character-driven stories!
Aug 15, 2017 rated it liked it
For some reason, this one didn't grab me as much as I wanted it to. It was an alight story. Josie inherits a pig abs tries to raise it with her large family. Not everything goes according to plan. Josie has to make some tough choices.
Kayla Sheppard
Nov 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This story touched my heart so much! It shows the real dynamics of family and growing up and things changing! Hamlet was so cute this book had me tearing up and laughing out loud and it felt like reading a warm cup of hot chocolate it was just perfect! 🐷
Heidi M Rogers
Nov 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Cute story about putting someone (or some pig's) needs before your own wants.
Sep 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Love this book! Such a sweet MG story!
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Jodi Kendall is the middle grade author of The Unlikely Story of a Pig in the City and Dog Days in the City (HarperCollins Children's Books). Jodi grew up in the Midwest with her family of seven, and a household of countless pets including hamsters, ducks, dogs, rabbits, an iguana, and yes…even a farm pig! These days, you can find Jodi typing away at home in New York City, where she’s still an ani ...more