Mud Pie for Mother
Mud Pie for Mother
by Scott Beck
Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers
Ages 3 to 6

Shop! Shop! Shop ‘til you drop! Race from store to store. Search for the “perfect” gift. Sound familiar? We all do it. In MUD PIE FOR MOTHER, written and illustrated by Scott Beck, Little Pig searches the farm for the perfect birthday present for his mother.

When I was Little Pig’s age, I searched for the perfect gift, too. I dashed through the dime store aisles, two quarters, (my whole allowance) clutched in my hand, hunting for the best gift for Mother’s Day. I found it . . . an orange paisley accordion-pleated apron. It was beautiful!

Little Pig found beautiful presents too, a little flower, a bit of hay, a few seeds, even a clump of dirt . . . all perfect gifts! His mother would love them. But when Little Pig realized that they belonged to his farm friends, he wouldn’t take them. It just wouldn’t be right. Imagine Little Pig’s sadness as he headed home empty-handed. But to his surprise Little Pig’s friends each gave him a special gift for his mother. Children will delight in this story as Little Pig is rewarded for his kindness. They will see that although doing the right thing is not always easy, it is best.

Scott Beck’s simple illustrations nearly “pop” off the page. Then they draw you right back onto the farm. Beck presents a sweet and gentle story, which children will easily identify with. I mean . . . what child has not searched for the perfect present? Remember macaroni-studded picture frames and yarn-covered, frozen-orange-juice pencil holders . . . made and presented with love. PERFECT!

This review can also be seen on: SmartWriters
FROM the MOUTHS of KIDDLE CRITers: a critique group

“The pig wanted to give something to his mother for her birthday,” said Philippe.

“Yeah, Little Pig wanted to give things to his mom just like in real life,” said Kiley. “He went to the bee and the cow and the hen and the old grandma.”

“Because they all had something special,” interrupted Greg. “But even though Little Pig wanted to take them, (flower, hay, seeds, dirt) he didn’t.”

“Right!” said Emma. “He was nice enough to not take them. So when he came back everyone gave him something.”

“He got rewarded,” said Pritka with a smile.

“Yeah,” said Greg. “Little Pig listened to the farmer’s wife and she rewarded him.”

“And every time the pig passed by the animals, they gave Little Pig some things, too,” said Philippe.

“I think the girl farmer and the animals respected the pig,” said Emma.

“Emma ‘s right,” said Greg.

“But even if the pig couldn’t get a present,” said Emma. “His mother would still love him.”

Roberto nodded. “Yeah, what really matters is loving,” he said.

“This book shows how to be kind,” said Annie.

“And the pig was very kind,” said Pritka.

“I think Little Pig was generous, too,” said Annie.

“Yeah,” said Treska. “The moral of the story is don’t take. They’ll give it to you.” Then she grinned. “Then you don’t get in trouble and you feel better too.”

“I liked this book,” said Emma. “I think that Little Pig’s mother wouldn’t really care if he didn’t give her anything because love is the biggest present of all.”



Discuss echoic words . . . words that make their own sounds. Start with the words from the book. List them on chart paper.

Buzz, Moo, Grunt, Cluck, Squawk

Have children act out each animal sound.

As you read books to the children, alert them to be on the lookout for additional echoic words and add these words to the list. A great book to start with is TOO MUCH NOISE by Ann McGovern. This book includes many additional animal sounds, as well as fun words like swish and hiss.

Make a list of the farm animals in the story.

Pig, Bee, Cow, Hen

Continue the list by adding as many farm animals as the children can think of.


Make flash cards of the animal names and animal sounds.

Cow – Moo, Sheep – Baa, Pig – Oink,

Children flash the cards to each other for reading/vocabulary practice. When a child successfully reads a card, he/she keeps the card and scores a point. The child with the most cards wins.


Use the same set of cards as for VOCAB/FLASH. (Actually, I prefer to make a separate set, which allows me to have two groups working on an activity at the same time.)

Shuffle all cards and place them face down on playing surface.

Children play in teams or individually against each other. They take turns turning over two cards to make a match. Ex. Sheep – Baa (yes) Sheep – Oink (no) The child or team with the most matching cards wins.


Have children talk about what they would have done if they were in Little Pig’s hooves?

Have children discuss how they think Little Pig was feeling. worried, annoyed, angry, sad, frustrated

(Although I examined this website and found it to be very helpful, please use it at your own discretion.)

Pigs Thematic Unit:


If you like MUD PIE FOR MOTHER or books about pigs, you may also like the following books.

If You Give a Pig a Pancake by Laura Joffe Numeroff, illustrated by Felicia Bond
Pigs by Robert N. Munsch, illustrated by Michael Martchenko
The True Story of the Three Pigs by Jon Scieszka, illustrated by Lane Smith

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