And This Little Piggy Had None

Challenging the Dominant Discourse on Farmed Animals in Children’s Picturebooks

by Janae Dimick (Author)
©2018 Textbook X, 140 Pages
Series: Education and Struggle, Volume 16


And This Little Piggy Had None: Challenging the Dominant Discourse on Farmed Animals in Children’s Picturebooks is a fascinating critique of how "farm" animals are represented in children’s literature. Drawing from the fields of critical animal studies, critical discourse analysis, and animal behavior research, Janae Dimick questions the validity of these representations as environmental, societal, and other negative effects related to factory farming emerge. Questioning the socially constructed categories that humans use to classify which animals are used for consumption and which are meant for companionship, the book works to dismantle the "truth" of what children learn from the informational texts that are read to them in educational and home settings. The first of its kind, this book will make readers question their relationship with nonhuman animals and rethink how language creates narratives that ultimately act to the detriment of humans, nature, and animals. Students studying critical pedagogy, ecolinguistics, ecopedagogy, early childhood literacy, ecocriticism, bioethics, critical animal studies, environmental studies and education, and human-animal studies would benefit from reading this easily accessible text.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • Advance Praise For And This Little Piggy Had None
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Contents
  • Acknowledgments
  • Chapter 1. The Sequoia Schema: An Articulated Ecosophy
  • Chapter 2. From Stand Ins to Teachers: An Overview of Nonhuman Animals in Children’s Literature and Other Texts
  • Chapter 3. Method(ology) to the Madness: Multimodal Critical Discourse Analysis
  • Chapter 4. Animals as Things: The Desentientization of the Living
  • Chapter 5. A Hundred Echoes: Emerging Voices in the Counter Discourse
  • Series Index

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The question of the animal has begun to emerge within various disciplines and fields in academia in the past few decades. Yet, when I first began this kind of research while I was a doctorate student, I was, for the most part, met with skepticism. Well-meaning professors, concerned for my future career prospects, urged me to abandon my interest in animals and to refocus my academic efforts to that of the human realm. However, I was lucky enough to find one professor who supported my work, Dr. Peter McLaren. I am not sure if he understood my intentions (at the time, I do not think I was clear myself), but he nonetheless respected my vision, encouraged me to fully pursue my work, and nurtured my intellectual curiosity. I doubt that this book would exist without his guidance and for that I thank him.

Dr. McLaren introduced me to another critical educator who inspired me (and continues to do so), Dr. Richard Kahn. Dr. Kahn’s groundbreaking, paradigm-shifting, soul-shaking scholarship on Critical Animal Studies made me rethink my position as a “kingdom being” and my duties and privileges as a human and teacher. His mentorship and encouragement throughout this process were invaluable, and I fear I did not give his contribution to the field justice enough in this book. For that, I apologize. ← vii | viii →

I feel that I must also acknowledge my family, particularly my husband and daughter. My husband, Dr. Steve Westbrook, was by my side throughout this process, acting as my sounding-board and accomplice. He also made sure that I ate three meals a day and reminded me to come up for air every once in a while. My daughter embodies the next generation, which, as the effects of climate change become more evident, I am more and more concerned about. I wrote this book for her and for the future of all other beings. I hope the world becomes a better place for them. Sequoia, if you ever read this, may you grow strong and tall. Remember, you are named after beings who live for hundreds of years and can withstand fire.

Lastly, I would like to acknowledge the approximately 65 billion animals who are killed every year for human consumption. Today’s date is October 2nd, which also marks the World Day for Farmed Animals. This day is “dedicated to exposing the needless suffering and death of sentient animals raised and killed for food” (dayforanimals.org) and calls for an envisioning of a “kinder, more compassionate world where animals are no longer seen as commodities.” I too wish for this and offer this book, my life’s work to date, as my contribution to the re-imagining of a world where all life, regardless of species, holds value.

Dr. Janae Dimick
Oct. 2nd, 2017

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· 1 ·


As a young child, I was afraid of animals, especially dogs. My parents worriedly made note of this, so they did what any concerned parents would do: they decided to get me a dog. Reaching deep into my cobwebs of memories, I can recall going to the shelter, looking at all the dogs in their cages, and my family choosing a black Labrador Retriever. After she was spayed, my father brought her home. I promptly reacted by screaming shrilly, jumping into my older brother’s arms, and wrapping my entire body around his torso. I was eventually coaxed down from my human jungle gym, and I slowly made peace with Cinder, my new dog.

As I grew, my interest and compassion for animals also grew. Even before my tenth birthday, I wanted to become a Veterinarian, so I convinced my mother to buy me a Veterinarian textbook. I poured over the contents, familiarizing myself with all things “animals.” I taught myself how to administer vaccines, and at nine years old began giving all my animals their immunizations and providing them with other basic care.

It was also during this time that I began to realize some of the multifarious roles animals played in humans’ lives. For example, my sister, who is severely mentally and physically disabled as a result from a traumatic brain injury, greatly benefitted from equine therapy. My brother, a veteran who suffers from ← 1 | 2 → PTSD, only communicated for a time with a stray cat he adopted. My father, who hunted, instilled in me a respect, although a somewhat problematic one when considering the ethics of hunting, for the animals my family consumed. He abhorred sport hunters and strongly disapproved of the practice. We wasted no part of the animals he killed. However, even at that young age, I strongly protested against this violence, refusing to eat the animals that he killed.

In my early twenties, I began working at a Veterinarian clinic. While I was there, I witnessed the extraordinary bonds between humans and animals. I also witnessed the extreme cruelty that humans can impose on other living beings. I had the opportunity to raise orphaned baby raccoons, befriend a wolf, and wrestle a feral cat (he won, by the way). I observed surgeries, bottle fed newborn kittens, bathed raccoons, and comforted humans who had lost their beloved companions.

During my undergraduate years, I majored in Anthropology, with an emphasis in Primatology. I spent hours at the San Diego Zoo, observing a troop of Bonobos, who eventually became familiar with my presence. One particular experience still resonates with me: I was eating a bag of trail mix when one of the females approached me. She slapped the glass wall that separated us, pointed to my food and then her mouth, clearly telling me to give her some. I shook my head no. She slapped the wall again, this time more forcefully, pointed to my food, her mouth, and then up. I looked up and realized that she was instructing me to throw the food over the glass divider and into her enclosure. I did not do as she requested because had I been caught, I would have lost my research privileges, and I was also unaware if Bonobos had any dietary restrictions. I did not want the illness or death of an endangered animal on my hands. The Bonobo looked at me with disgust (I am fairly certain she thought I did not understand what she was telling me) and stalked away. For the remainder of my research at the San Diego Zoo, she refused to come over to where I sat. However, this incident was the most direct communication I had ever had with an animal, so it was an exciting moment for me; I realized that animals are aware of humans’ actions, or, in this case, inactions. They also want to change the course of those actions. I began to wonder if captive animals desire agency apart from human confines. In other words, are animals able to recognize their oppression, and do they wish for liberation?


X, 140
ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2018 (July)
New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Oxford, Wien, 2018. X, 140 pp.

Biographical notes

Janae Dimick (Author)

Janae Dimick received her PhD in education from Chapman University in 2016. She is currently Assistant Professor of English at Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria, California.


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151 pages