Piggins and the Royal Wedding is a mini British mystery written by Jane Yolen and illustrated by Jane Dyer. This picture storybook was published in 1988 as part of the Piggins series, which follow the butler Piggins and his employers, the Reynard family, as he solves mysteries within their social circle. Parents who are fans of Downton Abbey or Upstairs, Downstairs will find the family / staff dynamics familiar.
In Piggins and the Royal Wedding, the Reynard family has, of course, been invited to a royal wedding. The two oldest children even have jobs to do! Trixy is to be the flower girl, and Rexy the ring bearer. Unfortunately, the wedding ring goes missing right before the wedding and Rexy is blamed. Piggins arrives to solve the mystery and find the thief, and the wedding continues without further complication.
Piggins and the Royal Wedding is rich with detailed illustrations, from lofty cathedral ceilings with stained glass windows to city streets with busy crowds. There are plenty of details for your kids to point out and discover, including a side mystery to solve.
The story is bursting with rare words that aid in literacy development. On the second page alone, the words “butler”, “petticoat”, “cathedral”, “handkerchief”, “gallantly”, “fondly”, “stickpin”, and “bonnet” are found. Whew!
Within the whole Piggins series, crime is punished and those who help solve the crime – Piggins – are rewarded. In the case of the Royal Wedding, Piggins is even given a medal by the Reynard family as a gift for solving the crime.
To give context to your kids, you might remind them of a wedding you recently attended together, or let them play with a costume jewelry ring.
The Royal Wedding offers a huge array of post-reading activities. You might set up a small
scavenger hunt for your older children, or perhaps name or count the objects within the illustrations with younger readers. You might ask, “Can you find Piggins?” or “Where is the kitchen?” in the “dollhouse” style illustrations, like the one shown on the right.
Piggins and the Royal Wedding is ideal for ages 4 – 7, with its simple plot, extensive vocabulary, and black and white morality.
The Royal Wedding gets four flashlights for Dyer’s intricate illustrations and the excellent introduction to mystery stories.