Children’s Book Review: Harold & Hog Pretend for Real! (Elephant & Piggie Like Reading!)

Mo Willems’ Elephant & Piggie series has captured the minds and hearts of children around the world. A new book in the Elephant & Piggie Like Reading! Series introduces another pachyderm and oinker pair to kids with Harold & Hog Pretend For Real! By Dan Santat. It offers more fun in the Mo Willems style they’ve come to love so much.

Harold and Hog are best friends who idolize Elephant & Piggie. When they take over the book, they decide to pretend to be the iconic characters. But Harold is too outgoing and vibrant to play Elephant, while Hog is too cautious and careful to play Piggie. They will have to think outside the box to make this playtime work.

Dan Santat’s characters have a more lifelike texture than Mo Willems’ creations, but they use Willems’ style costume pieces. Kids will laugh at Hog wearing a Piggy nose and Harold trying to wear Elephant’s glasses. There’s even a silly jab at Pigeon to be found.

The moral of the story is that playtime shouldn’t be defined by your outward appearance. Kids should feel free to explore a variety of roleplay activities that aren’t limited by their physical characteristics. Dreams should be as big as possible.

The Elephant & Piggie Like Reading! Series is a great way for kids to graduate from the Elephant & Piggie series to other stories with a similar tone. Harold & Hog Pretend for Real! feels a lot more like an Elephant & Piggie book than the other stories in the series, like The Itchy Book. But if you’re worried your kids might not like anything else, this would be a safe choice.