The Mercy Watson books are a series created by author Kate DiCamillo and illustrator Chris van Dusen. The series began in 2005 with Mercy Watson to the Rescue, and has continued with multiple other books, as well as spin-off volumes about secondary characters from the series.
Mr. and Mrs. Watson own a very unusual pet: a pig named Mercy, who basks in the adoration of her family and the endless supply of buttered toast in their house. Despite the complaints of grouchy neighbor Eugenia Lincoln, Mercy inevitably benefits the Watsons — though not necessarily in the way they believe.
This series includes examples of the following tropes:
- Accidental Hero:
- In Mercy Watson to the Rescue, Mercy manages to jump off her owners' bed when the floor begins cracking and runs downstairs. Shortly thereafter, the fire department arrives and rescues Mr. and Mrs. Watson. However, Mercy was oblivious to their predicament and the fire department only arrived because of Eugenia calling in a complaint while Mercy was at her and her sister's house begging for a midnight snack.
- In Mercy Watson Fights Crime, Mercy hears the noise of a burglar stealing the toaster and thinks someone is making toast, leading her downstairs. A series of events leads to her sitting on top of the guy while the police get there, but Mercy is again utterly oblivious.
- Acid Reflux Nightmare: When Baby wakes her up because of the cowboy noises in the yard, Eugenia immediately asks her if she ate pie before bed and tells her to go back to her room.
- Catchphrase: Leroy Ninker, a wannabe cowboy who burgles houses in the meantime, likes singing and shouting "yippee-i-oh." In one case, it turns into "uh-oh" when Mercy catches him red-handed.
- Cranky Neighbor: Eugenia Lincoln, the Watsons' next door neighbor, appears in several books and inevitably spends a lot of time grouching about Mercy, for no apparent reason other than her belief that pigs don't belong in residential neighborhoods. Her sister Baby, however, is much friendlier.
- Extreme Doormat: Baby Lincoln tends to speak softly to her sister and keep her thoughts to herself, given Eugenia's tendency to be stubborn and opinionated.
- Fright-Induced Bunkmate: In the first book, Mercy feels unnerved by the dark and goes to her owners' room to sleep with them. Unfortunately, the floor can't stand up to the weight of two adults and a pig.
- Halloween Costume Characterization: Played with in Mercy Watson, Princess in Disguise. Mercy's costume does indeed indicate someone's character, but it doesn't display Mercy's personality so much as that of her doting mistress. Mercy only agrees to wear the costume to get treats.
- Insistent Terminology: Mercy is a pig, but her owners repeatedly call her a "porcine wonder."
- Nice Girl: Mrs. Watson dotes on Mercy, offers refreshments to everyone, and even insists on bringing inside a thief and feeding him before he gets arrested, solely because she thinks he looks a little small.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Mercy repeatedly savors heavily buttered toast (or anything with butter in a pinch) and likes to visit Baby Lincoln to share sugar cookies.
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: When she sees Leroy (a small thief who wants to be a cowboy) riding Mercy around the yard next door, Eugenia doesn't question it at all, seeming more annoyed that the neighborhood pet she dislikes has gotten up to shenanigans again than confused about the sight.
- Wrong Assumption: The Watsons believe Mercy is a smart, heroic pig who has saved them and their property. While she did, the "saving" part happened by accident as a result of Mercy acting like a normal animal.