Liam is a little pig who insists that he is a bunny. His family assures him they love him just the way he is; his sister tells him to get over it. He is still insistent: "Hello, my name is Liam and I'll be your Easter Bunny." The neighbors are skeptical but his parents continue to love and support him.
And I say, "Love it."
Then grandma and grandpa come to visit, and not only do they support Liam, they work with him to make his outside match his inside - they order an Easter Bunny suit on the Internet. And once his bunny suit has arrived, "Everyone believed in him."
And I say, "HM."
I have known kids who insist that they are actually kitties. For a kid like that, ok. Order a cat suit off the Internet and call him Whiskers - he'll grow out of it. I also know a kid or two who persistently identifies with the opposite gender. Also ok. Most kids grow out of this, too, although some don't. I don't think it is a controversial thing to say that it is generally hard to be that kid.
For a kid like that, ordering a princess dress and addressing him as Shirley may not be the best course of action. Or maybe it is. I don't know, it's not my area of expertise. In any case, it's not going to be the Band-Aid that will make life easy. And I suppose my point is: you'd really want to talk to a professional before doing that.
I know, I know... "it's only a picture book." And it's a cute picture book. The grandparents are sassy and the illustrations are bold and friendly. And a million picture books go here - there's always the vegetarian wolf, the tidy pig, the loud mouse. For most kids, it will be an affirming, cheerful tale.
But Piggy Bunny goes further than most 'celebrate your differences' books. The solution to Liam's "problem" is presented, and that solution may not be one that works for children who are faced with the same issue. I would hate to think of a frustrated little girl and her concerned parents concluding that a pair of overalls is going to make everyone else understand what she knows about herself already. So on this subject, I will stick with 10,000 Dresses and The Boy Who Cried Fabulous.
Rachel Vail and Jeremy Tankard have been separately responsible for any number of funny, sly, appealing picture books. Righty & Lefty is one of my all-time favorite brother books, and Me Hungry! makes me laugh every time. Piggy Bunny, however, is rather a miss for me.
For another perspective, read what the author and illustrator have to say about it on Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast. (They almost change my mind.)
Shelf Elf has a review and a bonus process video.
A review on the Parent Map.
And on the Daily Kos.