The Bookworm

“Esther the Wonder Pig” by Steve Jenkins and Derek Walter with Caprice Crane (Grand Central Publishing),$26,212 pages

Getting a new pet is fun.

You imagine long walks, bedtime cuddles, training a new baby to be a good citizen.

There will be laughs, joys, and playtime and well, and of course, there’ll be sleepless nights, little messes and broken possessions. And in the new book “Esther the Wonder Pig” by Steve Jenkins and Derek Walter with Caprice Crane, those are the easy surprises.

Steve Jenkins knew his partner, Derek, would be angry.

He knew they should have talked about it first, but when a high-school friend offered Jenkins a 6-month-old “mini-pig,” well, seriously, who could resist? Not Jenkins; he was a lifelong animal lover and besides, she said the piglet wouldn’t grow much.

Yes, Derek was angry but not for long: he fell for the pink face, too, and so that little piggy stayed home — until a veterinarian told Jenkins that Esther was no mini, that she’d grow to outweigh both men; that, of course, was a shock. Never mind that Esther had terrible housebreaking issues that almost caused her banishment.

The house was a permanent mess, but Jenkins and Derek couldn’t bear to think about giving up their “baby.” Esther was charming, smart and sweet-tempered, part of the family — so much so that her “dads” one day realized they could no longer eat pork because it was like dining on Esther’s relatives. So that little piggy ended the eating of roast beef (and other meats) in the house.

But as Esther grew, so did the problems. Jenkins knew that keeping a hoofed animal was illegal in their Canadian town and Esther’s size meant they couldn’t hide her anymore. Once they’d created a Facebook page for her (with thousands of “likes”), her story was picked up by major newspapers and they knew the jig was up.

Esther’s dads understood that her story was changing lives — both animal and human — which brought them to tears and a realization that their big girl had a big personality. Was it time to take her along on a big dream, too?

Much as I hate literary comparisons, it’s difficult not to draw parallels between “Esther the Wonder Pig” and the Marley empire. Both are based on adorably tiny animals that quickly grew to sizes unexpected by their humans. Their proportions caused the pets to wreak havoc on their homes, the stories of which are told with great amusement.

Check, and check.

The difference is that Jenkins, Walter and Crane took Esther’s story beyond this book. Esther, today, is a spokes ... uh, pig for the bettering of the lives of farm animals and the encouragement of a vegan lifestyle. Because of this tale and their Happily Ever Esther Farm Sanctuary, fewer little piggies (and cows and chickens) go to market.

I love a good ending.

This is a quick book to read and, if you’re an animal lover, you’ll particularly want it now. For you, “Esther the Wonder Pig” will make you say “Whee! Whee! Wheeeee!”

Terri Schlichenmeyer has been reading since she was 3, and she never goes anywhere without a book. She lives on a hill in Wisconsin with two dogs and 11,000 books.

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