Houghton Mifflin, 1973
I have a love/hate thing with James Marshall. Like every good kid o' the 70s, I grew up with the George and Martha series, but even as a child I found his humor to be strangely adult-oriented. Whenever I read his books, it always felt like I was a five-year old at a cocktail party... overhearing bits and pieces of grownup conversation and only understanding half of it.
Reading them as an adult now to my son, some of his books do read like an inside joke for parents. I might be way off base here, but it almost seems liked he didn't like kids (or parents maybe?) very much... or at least had a healthy cynicism about the magic of childhood. His stories are more in line with the Charles Schultz school of childhood funny. Still, you can't deny his tales tickle, and his illustrations are simple yet full of personality and humor. Of course my son loves all his books because the main characters are animals, and this one starring a pig and a turtle is a big winner. Let's just call this a cautionary tale about overeating and learning to love your friends as they are.
Emily Pig was upset.
She was gaining weight and didn't know why.
"Maybe I should get more exercise," she said to herself.
Emily the pig decides to take her buddy Eugene the turtle on a healthy walk and then just happens to eat everything in sight along the way. Needless to say, Emily gets an enormous tummy ache in the end, and Eugene gives sage, punchline advice.
Eugene smiles. "Maybe you should stay in bed
and eat plenty of good food."
"Oh, yummers," said Emily.
Oh, yummers, indeed.