A traditional tale is told from a new point of view in a fun book for elementary readers, The True Story of the Three Little Pigs. Jon Scieszka’s vers...moreA traditional tale is told from a new point of view in a fun book for elementary readers, The True Story of the Three Little Pigs. Jon Scieszka’s version of this well-known folktale gives the wolf a chance to tell his side of the story that left him with the reputation of ‘Big and Bad.’ Illustrations by the unique artist Lane Smith magnify the already wonderful text in this book.
From his jail cell, after being convicted of eating pigs and destruction of property, Alexander T. Wolf explains a version of The Three Little Pigs unlike any other. While going door-to-door to borrow a cup of sugar for his “dear old granny’s birthday cake” the wolf accidentally destroys a house a house of straw when he sneezes and eats the dead pig left in the rubble (Scieszka 1989, 5). Next, another sneeze ruins a straw house and provides the wolf another meal. At the house of bricks the third pig provokes the wolf to attack by insulting his granny, causing him to huff and puff until the police arrest him. Scieszka ends the story by stating that a slow news day caused for exaggeration in the wolf’s story and led to his jail sentence.
A new traditional story, The True Story of the Three Little Pigs is well-written using point-of-view, humor, and simple language to engage readers. The author of other similarly written stories, Scieszka’s style of writing is entertaining, thought-provoking, and has a richness to it through his cleaver use of words. Great lines from the book include “It seemed like a shame to leave a perfectly good ham dinner lying there in the straw. So I ate it up. Think of it as a big cheeseburger laying there” on page 13 and “So they jazzed up the story with the whole ‘Huff and puff and blow your house down” on page 25 (Scieszka 1989).
High quality illustrations by Lane Smith are one of the best parts of this book. Rich colors and depth added by shading results in intriguing artwork for each page of this book. Details in the illustrations extend upon the text, such as rabbit ears poking from under the wolf’s hamburger bun and a headline about Red Riding Hood on the front page of ‘The Daily Pig’ newspaper. Smith’s illustrations are not only interesting to look at, they tell a story on their own and are instrumental in making this book the popular, well respected work it is today.
Scieszka and Smith created a book that will forever accompany the classic story of three pigs with The True Story of the Three Little Pigs. Engaging text and excellent illustrations make this an essential addition to any library, a book reluctant readers will enjoy, and a great choice for read-aloud activities.(less)
Winner of the Caldecott Medal and a New York Times Best Illustrated Book, The Polar Express is a charming story of a young boy’s adventure on Christma...moreWinner of the Caldecott Medal and a New York Times Best Illustrated Book, The Polar Express is a charming story of a young boy’s adventure on Christmas Eve. Van Allsburg uses detailed illustrations and expressive language to bring this book to life.
While waiting anxiously to hear Santa’s sleigh bells, a boy is surprised when a train arrives at his front door the night before Christmas. With the conductor as his guide and other children as passengers, the boy takes The Polar Express to the North Pole where he is greeted by Santa. The excited boy is chosen to receive the first gift of Christmas and one of Santa’s silver sleigh bells becomes his gift. On Christmas morning he is surprised to find the bell under the tree, after believing it was lost after falling out of his pocket. Only he and his sister can hear the bell ringing, because they believe in Santa; and the boy continues to hear the bell and feel the magic of Christmas long after he is grown.
The Polar Express is a beautiful book and a classic Christmas story. Van Allsburg adds to the story by describing the emotions of the boy as he tells his story in first-person point of view. The author creates a picture of the boy’s experiences by writing, “From outside came the sounds of hissing steam and squeaking metal. I looked through my window and saw a train standing perfectly still in front of my house.” The lines “His teamed charged forward and climbed into the air” and “Santa circled once above us, then disappeared in the cold, dark polar sky” are examples of the high-quality text that accompanies the story’s amazing illustrations.
Van Allsburg filled the pages of this book with oil paintings in warm colors and muted colors with light playing an additional role in the story’s artwork. Because the story takes place entirely at night, shadows, twinkling lights in building windows, and stars on the horizon bring depth to each page.
A popular book and future motion picture, The Polar Express is a well-written and skillfully illustrated story that has become a staple in collections of holiday literature. Young children and adults alike will enjoy this wonderful winter story, which is just one of Van Allsburg’s excellent works.(less)