The Water Gift and the Pig of the Pig by Jacqueline Briggs Martin and illustrated by Linda S. Wingerter
This picture book tells a lovely, tender family story. The narrator, Isabel, tells us about her grandfather, who used to be a sea captain and has the special gift of finding water underground using a divining rod. Isabel is a shy and timid girl whose pet is the Pig of the Pig, a descendant of the pig who traveled around Cape Horn with her grandfather. Isabel has a happy life with her grandparents and the Pig of the Pig in a coastal New England village. Grandfather uses his gift to help his neighbors dig wells to water their crops, accompanied by Isabel and the pig. Grandfather also enjoys fishing and telling tales of his sea-faring days. Until the day when Grandfather loses his gift of finding water. He becomes depressed and listless and won’t go out fishing or tell his stories. Then the Pig of the Pig disappears and Isabel is worried. They have a mean neighbor who threatens to kill the pig if he finds her on his land. Isabel wants to search for her, but Grandfather says she will find her way home. So Grandmother searches with Isabel, but they don’t find her. Isabel is determined to find the pig, so she overcomes her fear of climbing trees to take a branch off a big tree to use as a divining rod. She goes to her grandfather and persuades him to help her find the pig. Together, they use the divining rod and discover that Isabel shares her grandfather’s special gift of discovery as the rod leads her to a hole in the ground where the Pig of the Pig had fallen and was stuck. This discovery reinvigorates Grandfather. Now, he and Isabel together find water for their neighbors as Grandfather shares his stories of sailing. Acrylic paintings illustrate the book and add a tranquil, comforting mood to the story, perfectly accompanying the gentle prose.