Hijinks and squealing laughter prevailed Thursday as author-illustrator Derek Anderson entertained children with his “Ten Pigs Traveling Trunk Show” at Falls Elementary School in International Falls.

The New York Times best-selling artist from Minneapolis had a large crowd of youngsters laughing and dancing as he read and performed skits from his book, “Ten Pigs: An Epic Bath Adventure.”

The early learning book revolves around one pig, happily alone in a bubbly bathtub, until nine more pigs join in. The first pig then schemes to get the tub back to himself.

“It was a really funny story,” said young Julia Brown of the Falls. “The pig, he just wanted to get all the pigs out of the tub, so he just got a wolf costume and put it on, to scare them away. I liked how it was really funny.”

It was a fun night, said Patricia Anderson of the Falls, who attended with her grandson, Degan Worley, 4.

“It was very energetic, very exciting,” she said. “Lots of keeping the kids involved. It was very good.”

Anderson, 47, has illustrated more than 20 children’s books, and written several. He speaks at schools, libraries and conferences around the U.S.

He wrote his first book in 2002, and his first picture book reached the Times bestseller list in 2003.

His said his writing and drawing inspiration come from having been a kid.

“And these are my people,” Anderson said. “I love hanging out with preschoolers, with grade schoolers, because their imaginations are enormous. I’m just a big kid. I’m a guy who never had to grow up. I love what I do. I get to use my imagination every day.”

He said his goal is to use imagination – and have fun doing it.

“We have a great time with this. We get to play,” Anderson said. “In the end it’s about literacy, and it’s about kind of creating a love for stories and books. That’s what I love, that’s where all of this comes from.”

The event was a good way to promote a love of books, and having fun while learning, International Falls Public Library Director Diane Adams said.

“It’s so much fun to see them developing that whole knowledge base to do that kind of thing,” she said.

The Traveling Trunk Show is part of Once Upon a Reader, a statewide early literacy initiative launched in 2014. It was brought to the Falls by the Arrowhead Library System and partially funded by the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund through the Clean Water Land and Legacy Amendment.

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