Scieska, Jon. The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs by A. Wolf. Ill. by Lane Smith. New York: Viking Press, 1989. ISBN 0670827592.
2. PLOT SUMMARY
This fractured fairy tale involves one Alexander Wolf (also known as Big and Bad) claiming that a sneezing cold and the need for a cup of sugar are the real culprits behind the horror story of the 3 Little Pigs. He declares that his ‘huffing and puffing’ was a sneezing fit – a real tragedy for the two little pigs without any sense. And that scene with the third little pig? Let’s just say that tempers and rudeness don’t mix. For this wolf, it’s all a matter of perspective.
3. CRITICAL ANALYSIS
Scieska does a wonderful job of providing simple explanations for each step of this class fairy tale as told from the “villain’s” point of view. The voice and characterization fit a character trying to appear sympathetic. Lane Smith’s stylized full color sketches and beautiful watercolor and texturized backgrounds bring each step of the story to life, with fun extras like the “cute animal cheeseburger.” Children familiar with the original tale will recognize adaptations of classic lines such as the hairs on the pig’s “chinny-chin-chin,” but will have enough of a twist to keep them laughing along with the misadventures of our unlikely protagonist.
4. REVIEW EXCERPT(S)
THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR 1989
AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION NOTABLE CHILDREN'S BOOK 1989
MARYLAND BLACK-EYED SUSAN PICTURE BOOK AWARD 1989
PARENTING READING MAGIC AWARD 1989
From PUBLISHER’S WEEKLY – “Smith's highly imaginative watercolors eschew realism, further updating the tale, though some may find their urbane stylization and intentionally static quality mystifyingly adult. Designed with uncommon flair, this alternative fable is both fetching and glib.”
From ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY – “Lane Smith's elegant, witty illustrations are a lively counterpoint to Mr. Wolf's self-serving spiel. He sneaks hilarious little hints and clues into every picture: Bunny ears stick out of the cake batter; twigs from the stick house fall neatly on the ground in the pattern of cutlery on a set table.”
Top 100 Picture Books #35 by School Library Journal
National Education Association Kids' Top 100 Books #98
Gather other classic fairy tale variants to read such as:
• Trivizas, Eugene. Ills. Helen Oxenbury. THE THREE LITTLE WOLVES AND THE BIG BAD PIG. ISBN 9780689815287.• Shaskan, Trisha Speed. Ills. Gerald Guerlais. HONESTLY, RED RIDING HOOD WAS ROTTEN!: THE STORY OF LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD AS TOLD BY THE WOLF (THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STORY). ISBN 1479519405
• Cole, Babette. PRINCE CINDERS. ISBN 0698115546
Gather fairy tales from other cultures to show how some stories have similar roots, such as:
• McDermott, Gerald. ANANSI THE SPIDER: A TALE FROM THE ASHANTI. ISBN 080500310X
• Manna, Anthony and Christodoula Mitakidou. Ills. Giselle Potter. THE ORPHAN: A CINDERELLA STORY FROM GREECE. ISBN 0375866914.
• Young, Ed. LON PO PO: A RED-RIDING HOOD STORY FROM CHINA. ISBN 9780698113824