Robert Newton Peck has wasted few words in this modest and affecting little book ["A Day No Pigs Would Die"] … about a 12-year-old boy who learns some hard but useful lessons….
"A Day No Pigs Would Die" has been promoted in the style of "True Grit" and "Addie Pray," and probably it will appeal to readers who are hooked on easy nostalgia. But there is more to it than that. It is sentiment without sentimentality—no easy feat—and it is an honest, unpretentious book. Doubtless many adults will like it, but it would be good reading for older children, even though (or perhaps, these days, because) it gets faintly gamy in a passage or two.
Jonathan Yardley, "New Fiction: 'A Day No Pigs Would Die'," in The New York Times Book Review (© 1973 by The New York Times Company; reprinted by permission), May 13, 1973, p. 37.