This review looks at a quirky illustrated fiction series written in the 1980s named Sometimes it Rains Pigs On Sunny Days 晴天有时下猪. The series centres around a school boy who discover he has the ability to make true whatever he imagines, so he starts writing “tomorrow’s” journal entries. The series was originally written in Japanese, and translated fully into Chinese. Some books, but not all, have been translated into English too (under the name “Tokyo Pig”, or “Fair then Partly Piggy”).
This is a bridging book at a perfect level for upper primary reading. If you’re struggling to find Simplified Chinese books that your tween likes, I’d suggest trying this one out.
Key Information on 晴天有时下猪
- Series name: Fair then Partly Piggy / Sometimes it Rains Pigs on Sunny Days
- Author: Shiro Yatama 矢玉四郎
- Number of books in set: 10
- Number of lines per page: 14 (with picture on opposite page)
- Number of pages per book: 80
- Total length of each book: ~ 4000 characters
- Characters required by child to read it independently: ~1500
- Pinyin: No
- Bilingual: No
- Available in Singapore NLB: Yes
- Original language of publication: Japanese
- Characters: Simplified Chinese
- Audio available: Yes through Luka or Ximalaya
- Suggested ages: 10+
Background to 晴天有时下猪
These books reach 1 million copies sold in Japan in early 2000. The author, Shiro Yatama, was born in 1944 Japan and was an engineer turned writer and cartoonist. This Piggy series is his most famous, and his other well know series is called ‘A Million Hiccups’. Both have been turned into cartoon television series in Japan. We just love Japanese translated booked in this house, and this series is no different.
Synopsis of Sometimes It Rains Pigs on Sunny Days
A third-grade school boy called Nori keeps a diary which is private, and he is annoyed when his mum tries to read it, so he fills it with some absurd ideas to annoy her back again. Nori’s world changes when he doodles in his diary a sky full of pigs, and then it comes true!
The rest of the story revolves around Nori’s adventures with his hand-drawn loyal pet pig, Harebuta (Sunny Pig). He tells a girl that if she doesn’t wash her hair for ten days, it will turn into tulip flowers, and it does! Everything else is then history, as Nori uses his overactive imagination to scribble about what the future will hold in a whimsical world that only a child could dream up.
What a child will like about 晴天有时下猪
- Hilarious and quirky, yet relatable storyline (kids always love ‘dairy style’ books)
- Enough pictures to keep a child engaged – good set for boys and girls alike.
- Light-hearted and approachable format to read (not too daunting or long, and each book could be read in about half an hour if a child if a child was diligent)
What a parent will like about 晴天有时下猪
- Your child will likely want to keep reading the whole 10 in the series to find out how it all ends
- There’s no pinyin (good to pair read it with an optical reading pen)
- Text is laid out nicely and well spaced (not microscopic in size)
- Pictures are uniquely Japanese and cleverly constructed.
- There’s a matching cartoon if needed to coax/reward your child. The anime series is actually even more punny than the books themselves, and has been dubbed into English.
Insides of book: Sometimes It Rains Pigs On Sunny Days
Some watchouts and considerations
- If you intend to read it using Luka, some of the ‘text only’ pages are hard for Luka to identify
Where to buy?
Online has plenty of options if you google 晴天有时下猪.
Ours came from a favourite book store which has since shut down. However I’ve seen them also at the physical book store Maya Yuyi in Singapore, along with on Amazon at some ridiculous price, and on Taobao at an inversely ridiculous price.
If my child likes this, what are other similar books in Simplified Chinese?
Some books which my children have enjoyed at a sort-of-similar reading level are:
- Mi Xiao Quan (slightly easier reading level, but still about a boy’s school diary)
- Squid for Brains Readers (similar reading level)
- Zoroli (similar reading level and quiky-ness)
- Butt Detective (slightly easier reading level and also translated from Japanese)
If you have other suggestions similar to Sometimes it Rains Pigs On Sunny Days I would gladly listen! It gets gradually harder to find books which my tween is keen on reading, and we’re always looking for new suggestions.