This is the tale of Johanna, a little pig who goes on a train journey and interacts with her creator as the artist continues to illustrate the story.
The illustrator draws a train, with lots of carriages and noisy wheels. She draws a cow sitting in one carriage. Now the cow is watching the illustrator draw other animals in some of the other carriages. Then a little pig is drawn, and soon the little pig is active, talking and making demands on her creator: ‘Draw a spot on me’, ‘Just where I want it’, ‘Give me a name I like’, ‘Draw me some clothes’. And it doesn’t stop there. ‘Now give me adventures – let me see what is happening outside on the platform. (Hold it, please change that drawing of the little polar bear so he isn’t alone.) Show me what is happening in the homes that flash by. And find me a friend, please. But who are you trying to draw now?’
And who is this trying to get into Johanna’s compartment? Not a wolf or a monster, surely? No, illustrator, please don’t tease Johanna. Now draw her another little pig instead. There. Now there are two little pigs sitting in a carriage and going on a train journey …
This is a charming and sophisticated picture book, perfect for toddlers and those starting school, set within the unusual framework of the illustrator-narrator drawing characters that in turn interact with their creator. A definite distinction between the illustrator (her hands and pens are in black and white) and the story (the illustrations of the train, the pig, the other animals, etc. are all in full colour) is maintained throughout in order to make the concept crystal clear. The neat use of split-page production adds variety.