Wandering about on the ridge above his family's farm, Robert Peck comes across a neighbor's cow having difficulty giving birth. Acting quickly, Rob is able to help, and two bull calves are born. He is rewarded by their neighbor and owner of the cow, Mr. Tanner, with a piglet of his own to raise. Rob names the pig Pinky. Putting all his energy into caring for her, he dreams of the day she will become a brood sow and provide his family with a litter of pigs. Rob is the only surviving son in his family, and his four older sisters have all married and left home.
Rob's father, Haven Peck, is a quiet, gentle man who butchers pigs, a job he does not enjoy but performs so he can provide for his family. Mr. Peck cannot read or write, but stresses the importance of education to his son. Although the family is not rich, Mr. Peck teaches them that they are rich in the things that truly matter: they have each other, they have land to work, and they have God's creation to enjoy. However, tough times bring wrenching decisions when slaughtering season comes. Told from a boy's perspective, this story is both funny and moving, as Robert learns about life, love, and death, and what it means to be a man.
Through Robert Newton Peck’s funny but moving tale of coming-of-age on a farm in Vermont, students will learn:
Author Biography: Learn more about Robert Newton Peck.
Background Information: Learn about who Shakers really were and are.
Before-You-Read Activities: Learn about Vermont geography and production, Shakers, research paper about 1930s agriculture, pig breed research, as-you-read topic “to be a man”, birth and death themes.
Vocabulary words used throughout the novel, utilizing a variety of activities to stimulate retention and growth.
Literary Techniques: In context, dialect expressions, diagramming, foreshadowing, mood, contrast, grammar, characterization, author’s tone, comic scenes, conflict, theme.
Moral Lessons and Character Values: Helping/caring for animals, rewards, value of a man, material possessions, true riches, confession, adultery, judging others, pride, fairness, death, wealth, love and forgiveness, coming-of-age.
Activities and Writing Assignments: Units of measure, capstan research, following Shaker beliefs, linking of birth and death.
Suggestions for Further Reading: We include an in-depth reading list of more books by the same author(s) and other books that tie in with, or are similar to, A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Newton Peck.
All of the unit lessons are written from a Christian worldview!
I wish the catalog would have disclosed the cursing in the book. Our school is very conservative and would not have chosen this book if given that information. The guide itself is laid out well and the student discussion has been good. I like my students to experience different cultures, life lessons, and thinking outside the box, which is provided with this selection.