Erin Ramai's Reviews > The Three Pigs

The Three Pigs by David Wiesner
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** spoiler alert ** This book is recommended for ages 6-9, but I think slightly older students would enjoy it as well. It might get a mixed review amongst middle and high schoolers, but I think the adult audience was ready for a twist on an old favorite. It won the Caldecott Medal in 2002.

To be honest, I read Tuesday by David Wiesner (a basically wordless book) and I didn’t understand the point of it at all. I thought I was done reading his books altogether. But then, so many people were reviewing Flotsam and raving about it that I decided to give him another try. Boy, am I glad I did! I was at the Glen Ellyn Public Library and they had a display of his books out because apparently it’s his birthday today (February 5th), so I decided to check out both Flotsam and The Three Pigs. I enjoyed both very much.

My favorite part about The Three Pigs by far is that while the traditional story continues in the background, the pigs’ adventure takes the forefront. The traditional story is told and contained within frames, but the pigs’ tale bursts beyond borders—they even take a ride through the white space on a paper airplane created from one of the original story’s panels. I don’t think I’ve seen a children’s picture book utilize so much white space in my life. There are two entire pages left blank, but it creates a suspense/relief cycle nonetheless. It’s fantastic. I can’t say enough good things about this book. The pigs continue their voyage to different fairy tales and stylistically, they join the cast of the new tale they’re exploring. And as more characters decide they’ve had enough of their surroundings, they escape too. To me, they seem to become part of the real world because when they exit their frames, they have a sort of photo-like quality. Eventually though, all good things must come to an end, and the pigs and their new fairy tale friends unfold their plane and all of the crumpled up frames of the traditional tale. The dragon scares the wolf away, the cast of characters collects letters for alphabet soup and they live happily ever after—in true fairy tale fashion—although, much of the rest of The Three Pigs defies tradition altogether.

I think this book would be great for inspiring students to write their own “fractured fairy tales”. Additionally, it might be fun to have them write the story of The Three Pigs by David Wiesner from the perspective of the wolf to help them learn about point of view. This book could also be used during an author study. I feel that it would be especially effective because characters from Wiesner’s stories appear in his other books. I'm happy I gave Wiesner another chance. That's my birthday gift to you--Happy Birthday David!
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Christine Jensen I loved this book and had this same thought. I think these contemporary variations and interpretations of traditional literature would be a great addition to creative writing units and classes to inspire students of all ages to create tales of their own. Books like these, demonstrating quality, creativity, humor, gender, culture, and multitude of other elements could be explored and used to inspire students to create their own versions of traditional tales.

Katina This is a different spin from the traditional story of the three little pigs. Weisner does a great job of giving the pigs an alternate ending.

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