Notices from the PRESS

"In Russell Potter’s magical rendering, Toby’s story is both a travelogue and a sometimes unsettling inquiry into the nature of animal intelligence … Potter’s Toby is not only a prescient pig but also a reflective one, with a Swiftian eye on mankind’s mores." -- Frances Stead Sellers in The Washington Post

"Toby the Learned Pig is a vibrant and amazingly alive and TRUE character that only comes once in a while in the very rarest of books and I simply do not have the words adequate to thank Mr. Potter for this book and for that magical pig's entrance into my own imagination. He lives there now at the side of Peter Pan, Nicholas Nickleby, Harry Potter, and any other number of adventurous souls of fiction. I just loved Toby the Learned Pig. I loved every page of it."-- Michael Jones at and

"In this charming debut novel, Potter imagines—fully and movingly—the story of the 'learned pig,' based on an actual 18th-century novelty act ... it’s a very clever roman à clef; Toby the Learned Pig, with his earnest, understandable quest to be more than a source of amusement, animates this fable about enslavement, liberal education, and, perhaps, animal rights. The use of old-fashioned typography, capitalization, and woodcuts complement the 18th-century prose style, creating an immensely readable, clever, and fun novel." -- Publisher's Weekly (starred review)

"Written in a delightfully erudite, faux early 19th century prose  … a multi-layered, rumbustious romp which the author pulls off cum laude." -- The Observer

"READER, do not suspend disbelief. Mince it instead, to pass through a sausage machine, the better to swallow intact the spool of sophisticated verbiage contained within the hard covers of this soft-bellied autobiography, “the memoirs” of a (charmingly) erudite pig … Toby shines light on our human qualities, lending due distance to how we might view them: our capacity for loyalty, friendship, all the deadly sins, curiosity, fear of death, vulnerability and a yearning for recognition, whatever our worth. It is the most ordinary of tales, made extraordinary not by the “freakishness” of its “author” but by the humanity. Which is what captivates and touches, and makes the book worth reading." -- The Scotsman

"The delightful series of twists and turns Toby meets with on his rise to success are thoroughly entertaining. However, as well as plenty of laugh out loud moments the book also contains some powerful social commentary, as we are invited to look at the downfalls of human nature from a ‘pig’s eye view’. This witty narrative style combined with the engaging historical setting succeeds in creating an immensely entertaining read."   --

"Good clean fun" -- The Times

A Telegraph Gift Book of the Year 2011