Flying Pigs #flash fiction

The phrase ‘when pigs fly’ means that something is impossible, it will never happen. The phrase is an adynaton — don’t you love that word? I just learned it — an exaggeration, hyperbole. I seem to think I heard the term many times growing up, though I can’t recall about what in particular. Maybe it was life in general.

This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about a flight of pigs. It can be farm or fantasy-related. The idea can be a tale, poem or memory. You can use the phrase as an expression. Go where the prompt leads!

The first thing I thought about when reading Charli’s prompt is a hilariously delightful picture book by the fabulous author-illustrator Mo Willems: An Elephant and Piggie Book Today I Will Fly!

If you don’t already know the story, I suggest you acquaint yourself with it with this video. It will only take a couple of minutes.

I remember when I was first introduced to Mo Willem’s work. A colleague came rushing into my room one morning and pushed Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! at me, saying, “You’ve got to read this!’

I would have to say, the book didn’t have instant cover appeal, but she left it with me, and I continued with my preparations for the day. Later, when I sat down to read, I knew this book was something special. I loved it and the children loved it. We read it and read and read it. It had us in stitches. Unsurprisingly, it was a Caldecott Honor book.

After that, we read all the Mo Willems books we could get our hands on. The children brought in those they’d purchased or borrowed from the local library, and I couldn’t resist buying additional titles whenever I saw a new one in a book store I just happened to be passing.

When I visited New York in 2016, I was delighted to find an exhibition of the Art and Whimsy of Mo Willems at a museum not far from my accommodation. I couldn’t go through the exhibition shop without purchasing a book or two or more and also came home with a pigeon and a duckie soft toy. I am, unreservedly, a Mo Willems fan and I have the enthusiasm of my colleague to thank for that. If you would like to find out more, please visit the Mo Willems website.

And Mo is not just for little kids. He is for big kids (like us) and writers too. He has wonderful advice for teachers and writers alike when he discusses creativity, the need to play and the ever-present failure. If you haven’t yet had the pleasure of meeting Mo, please watch his video on The Joy of Creation. It will inspire you.

In another video on his website, Mo explains how to draw a piggie from the Elephant and Piggie books. The inspiration for my flash came from this video. The flash is also a nod to my favourite ever principal Peter Kidston who not only valued my work as a teacher, he respected it enough to provide me the freedom to teach how I wanted, knowing that the children and their learning was at the centre of all I did. I wrote about Peter in this post.

I hope you enjoy my story.

Flying Pigs

Children’s squeals drew the principal to the window. Ms Irena’s children were running about the yard tossing bits of paper in the air. What were they up to this time?

“We read a book about a flying pig,” explained Ms Irena. “The children decided to make their own pigs and see if they could fly. Then they wanted to see whose would fly the farthest or highest. After, we’ll write stories about our pigs. So, it’s literacy, art, maths and science rolled into one — STEAM!”

The principal smiled. “A flight of pigs. With Irena, even the impossible seems possible.”

Thank you blog post

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts.

38 thoughts on “Flying Pigs #flash fiction

  1. Jennie

    Hats off to teacher Irena!! Super story, Norah. I love Mo Willems and his delightful books. The first one someone shoved into my hands (pre-pigeon books) was Knuffle Bunny. Have you read Leonardo the Terrible Monster? I was lucky to meet him at the Eric Carle Museum. Great guy!

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. Norah Post author

      Knuffle Bunny is a good one too. I hadn’t met Leonardo so I just checked him out on Youtube. It’s great too. It reminded me a little of The Very Worst Monster by Pat Hutchins.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  2. Jules

    I’ll have to come back to the video and links. Encouraging children is always a good thing!
    I had a book link about flying pigs too over at the ranch. I adore ‘Tuesday’ a 1992 Caldecott Medal Winner – I like David Wiesner!
    Here’s to all the animals that don’t have wings that fly!

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. Norah Post author

      Encouraging children is always a good thing. Yes!
      I didn’t see your comment or link at the Ranch. I rarely have time to read them all these days, but try to read as many stories as I can.
      I don’t know David Wiesner or ‘Tuesday’.
      Yes – here’s to all the animals, flying or not.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      Thanks for your suggestion, Anne. I’ll check it out.
      I’m pleased I wasn’t the only one who didn’t know adynaton. I’m not sure I’ll remember it either. 🙂
      Very much enjoyed your podcast with Charli at the Ranch and the one with Hannah on Manchester radio. Well done!

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  3. Pingback: Flight of the Pigs « Carrot Ranch Literary Community

  4. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    Yes! Mo Willems! The pre schoolers I worked with last winter loved the one where Piggie and Elephant include Snake in a game of catch. I thought of you as I read it, knew you love that sort of message of inclusion as well as the problem solving of the characters.

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you, Pete. Of course, back in the days when I was given the freedom to teach how I wanted, there was no Mo Willems (in publishing anyway) and no STEAM. Then it was about themes and integrated learning. After that, ‘they’ took all the subjects apart and teachers work hard to make it meaningful again – through STEAM. 🙂

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  5. calmkate

    lol watched all prescribed videos, how inspiring! And your story just adds to the intrigue of being super creative, even with classes!

    you missed my post ‘sunfun’ which has a link to an ABC article about a super creative kindy teacher … I know you’ll love it!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      I’m pleased you watched and enjoyed the videos, Kate. I find them refreshing and inspiring. I hope you did too.
      I think I may have tried to read ‘sunfun’ in the last few days. The title sounds familiar. Unfortunately, when I go to quite a few of your post from my inbox (I get emails notifying me that you’ve posted) I get a 404 message. I’m never sure if you’ve taken the post down or what has happened. I’m not sure if this is one of them. I am late in getting to many posts. I do usually read all, or most, of your posts when I can and if I don’t get a 404 message. I might still get to it. I hope so. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
        1. Norah Post author

          I hope you can get your posts back, Kate. I’m sorry I didn’t let you know sooner. I just thought you’d hit publish too soon or decided to delete them by the time I got there.
          I love that kindergarten teacher. I can understand why his children do too. He’s brilliant. Thank you for sharing.

          Liked by 1 person

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          1. calmkate

            no no no, all my posts are there! Both on my blog and in my WP admin … so no idea how that error 404 keeps popping up but explains why so few are reading if they are getting that too 😦

            yes I thought you’d connect with the teaching side, his students must adore him and I most certainly appreciate his comfort with being an idiot to entertain … not many would do that 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

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            1. Norah Post author

              That’s interesting, Kate. I wonder is it something to do with the link. I’ve experienced the same on a couple of other blogs too and made the same assumptions I did about yours. I wonder what’s going on.

              Liked by 1 person

              Reply
              1. calmkate

                I read through the reader and am not aware of missing any posts, I do often check on ppls actual blogs in case I have missed something. Know many have ground to a halt lately for whatever reason. I’ve asked WP engineers, so lets see if they can fix it 🙂

                Liked by 1 person

                Reply
            2. Jacqui Murray

              Hi Kate–I had that problem when 1) I eliminated dates from my posts which made all those with dates 404s, 2) when I changed the marker (in my case, I’d categorized everything as ‘books’ and in a new theme, had to change it to ‘products’). Both took tons of time to fix! But they were fixable.

              Liked by 1 person

              Reply
              1. calmkate

                I hear you Jacqui but must be too tired to really understand what you’re saying. I’ll sleep on it and try it again in the morning when I’m more alert … really appreciate your help but I am a luddite 🙂

                Liked by 2 people

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