The Christmas Pig

a pig leading a boy - The Christmas Pig


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Book Review

Through all the rough times and lost things in young Jack’s life, a faithful stuffed pig has been dutifully by his side. Now Jack must use Christmas magic to find this lost friend.

Plot Summary

Parents don’t get it sometimes, but the choices they make can impact kids in big ways. That’s certainly true for young Jack.

When his mom and dad decided to call it quits and go their separate ways, it hit Jack like a nightmare. His whole world was turned upside down: he suddenly had no dad to play with. He moved to a new house, a new school.

Fortunately, Jack had DP by his side.

DP is short for “Dur Pig,” the name that a tiny Jack gave his small stuffed toy pig when he first got him. DP is made out of the same material as a soft towel. He has little plastic beans in his tummy, and his small soft arms and legs are perfect for wiping away a tear.

DP is an excellent listener, too. He knows exactly what to say (which in his case is usually nothing.) And he always understands all the complicated feelings that Jack wrestles with. In fact, DP is the only one in the world who knows everything, always cares and … never changes.

DP is good. Solid. Consistent. He’s the best friend a little boy could have. Jack has been lucky to have him.

And then, suddenly, he didn’t have him.

It was a snowy Christmas Eve day when a certain mean individual got mad at Jack and angrily tossed DP out the car window and onto a busy turnpike. And by the time Jack’s grandfather could pull the car over and walk back to look for the toy, all seemed hopeless. Whizzing cars and heavy snow made finding a small stuffed pig impossible.

As you might imagine, Jack was beside himself. He yelled. He screamed. He could not be consoled. Even when the mean pig-thrower went to buy another stuffed pig for Jack, it could never make things right.

This new pig couldn’t possibly compare. It didn’t feel the same. Its fabric was too new. The smell was all wrong. Besides, DP is out there! Alone and afraid. Friends don’t leave friends alone and afraid. They go find them, whatever it takes.

And so, Jack planned to do just that. Despite the cold and the snow, he’d wait until everyone was asleep and trudge back to the busy roadway all on his own to find DP. If it took the rest of Christmas Eve and all of Christmas Day to find his piggy friend, then so be it.

But later that night, before Jack could throw his plan into action, he was awakened (for he somehow must have drifted off to sleep) by voices in his room. But these weren’t voices he knew. When he peeped open his eyes, he found that they were the voices of … toys and other things that shouldn’t be talking. Those things had grown eyes and mouths. Oh, and the new stuffed pig Jack had tossed aside was talking, too.

The new pig (let’s call him CP for Christmas Pig) knew how much Jack hated him. But after talking with Jack’s other possessions, he agreed that there was only one course of action. If Jack loved his lost toy so much that he would put himself in danger for it, then CP would have to escort Jack into the magical realm of lost things to find a solution.

It will be dangerous. It will be perilous. It could even be deadly. The Land of the Lost is a strange and terrible place, governed by its own peculiar laws. But love and Christmas magic will hopefully help two non-friends on a friend-saving quest.

Christian Beliefs

There are no direct references to God or faith in this tale. But a thoughtful reader could see DP as a representation of an always listening and caring figure who loves unconditionally. Young Jack is aware that, amid life’s changes, that’s what he needs most. But a stuffed friend is the best he can find.

There are two tree-top angels in the tale.

Other Belief Systems

We read mentions of Christmas Eve being a time when special, even miraculous, events can take place. They call it a “Night for Miracles and Lost Causes.”

It’s all secular Christmas magic, however, even drawing in Santa at one point. And the Land of the Lost is also a magically imbued place where objects that people use and lose are “alivened” by the emotions that humans invest in them. Of course, Jack’s whole adventure in this exotic land could well just be a dream.

Authority Roles

Jack paints both of his parents in loving terms, though his dad is a gruff man who leaves the family soon after we first meet him. Jack’s mom and dad divorce. (Divorce impacts another young character as well.)

Some will find those divorce scenarios a little disturbing in a kid’s Christmas story, but it does establish Jack’s emotional state of mind. And frankly, it clearly communicates the turmoil divorce can produce in a young child’s world. (The inclusion could be seen not only as part of Jack’s tale but as a cautionary warning for adult readers.)

Jack’s mom moves him closer to his grandparents, and they’re both gentle and loving. Jack’s mother begins dating another divorced man. He is kind and attentive to Jack, which actually causes his teen daughter, Holly, to look at Jack with hurtful disdain. (That conflict is eventually resolved.)

In the Land of the Lost, however, we see some much more distinctly good and bad characters. Jack meets anthropomorphized objects ranging from toys, tools and poems to bad habits and emotions—all things valued and lost by humans and given life in this magical land. Some characters are good and helpful and some, such as the prison warden-like Loss Adjusters, are feared. The Loser is the dreaded ruler of this domain who is known for eating and absorbing Lost Things that no one wants.

Jack encounters several selfless individuals who are willing to sacrifice themselves to help Jack in his upright quest to find his lost toy. (Something that they note has never been done in the history of Lost Things.) Jack eventually learns that people (and Things) around him aren’t always as one-dimensional as they seem. He begins to think more deeply about other people’s feelings and emotional wounds, and he strives to be kind and forgiving, even to those he was once at odds with.

The story promotes the idea that even those who seem, on the surface, less valuable or less pretty, can still be eminently worthy of love and affection. And it reinforces the concept that losing is part of living—including the things of utmost value and things we take for granted. Lastly, The Christmas Pig suggests that a very valuable Thing called Hope can sustain those in the direst of circumstances.

Profanity & Violence

No profanity or alcohol in the mix. But we do see some angry reactions. Jack, for instance, throws an inconsolable fit when DP is lost—smashing and throwing things around his room and trying to rip the head off his “replacement” pig. And Holly sometimes reacts with angsty teen anger.

In the Land of the Lost, Jack and CP repeatedly run from authorities who become aware that a Thing has entered the land that does not belong there. The pair is often under threat from the deadly Loser (who would love to get his hands on a “real” boy) and other power-seeking Things.

Sexual Content

No sexual content. But a lost Thing called Beauty can’t seem to pull himself away from lovingly admiring his own image in any reflective surface. On the other hand, a dog-ravaged tree-top angel—who thinks herself ugly and useless—displays an inner beauty that far surpasses her broken features.

Discussion Topics

Have you ever lost a thing or a person who was incredibly important to you? How did you deal with that loss? How would you? Did you know that in those times God wants you to look to him and share the hurt you feel?

Take a look at Revelation 21:4; Lamentations 3:32; Psalms 147:3 and Joshua 1:9 for some scriptural insights on the subject.

Have you ever stopped to think about someone else’s point of view when you get into an argument? How do you think God would have you react? What can you hold up as a lasting hope when things seem sad or disappointing?

Has anyone done something self-sacrificial in your life? Have you told them how grateful you were?

What was your favorite part of this story?

Get free discussion question for books at

Additional Comments

The Christmas Pig deals in part with divorce. But it is a very compelling story that takes young readers (and older ones, too) in unexpected directions; offering thoughts about what is of real value and what is completely worthy of protection. The story also speaks of the power of hope and the healing grace that comes from offering someone a sincere friendship.

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Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not necessarily their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. The inclusion of a book’s review does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.

Review by Bob Hoose