"'Billy, you pig!' Mama Bear slammed her hand on the table. Flippy the Fly jumped up from behind Billy's ear mumbling '¿Que pasa?' Larry the Lamb barely stirred on his blanket by the fire. They all lived together in a cave on the banks of the Wannarana Creek." Billy is making a racket with the silverware. He's drooling. And he stinks. Says Mama Bear: "If that pig doesn't take a bath soon, someone's going to pass out from the smell."
Therein lies a tale and it's told in "Billy the Pig: The Stinkiest Cowboy in Town" ($14.95 in hardcover from Stinky Press Publishing, www.stinkypress.com) by Chicoan Natividad (Naty) Osa. The delightfully whimsical full-page color illustrations are provided by Osa's son, Javier Durá. Copies are available through the Web site or locally from Lyon Books and Avenue 9 Gallery in Chico; Back at the Ranch in Paradise; and Discover Earth in Red Bluff.
The story passes this reviewer's smell test for witty wording and nonsensical fun. One day in Happy Holler Billy buys a Durian, the stinkiest fruit there is, from his friend Monk the Monkey at Monk's Fruits and Veggies. The rodeo is coming up and Billy has a hankering to do some bee roping. Monk is in a quandary. He "knows people don't want Billy participating in the rodeo unless he takes a bath. He had heard that Mrs. Robinson fainted dead away from the smell when she was standing in line behind Billy at the Pony Espresso Cafe. He wanted to talk to him about it, but how do you tell your friend people think he stinks?"
Quickly, though, Billy, Larry, and Flippy are soon off to Warthog Harry's Saloon and Malt Shop for a little lunch when they are confronted by Fleevil, "the notorious gunslinger and all-around bad apple" who challenges Billy to a duel outside. "Billy was out in the street before you could say in a pig's eye." The swine flew into action. "Billy's right hand flew to his side and fired off the first banana. It stuck to Fleevil's forehead like a horn." Turns out this pig's got talent. Will he be able to rope bees? Will he take a bath?
"Billy the Pig" brings home the bacon.