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Sunday, June 23, 2013

Traditional Literature Review: The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka




THE TRUE STORY OF THE 3 LITTLE PIGS! by Jon Scieszka and Ill. By Lane Smith

1.  BIBLIOGRAPHY
Scieszka, Jon. 1989. THE TRUE STORY OF THE 3 LITTLE PIGS! Ill. by Lane Smith. New York, NY: Puffin. ISBN: 0140544518

2.  PLOT SUMMARY 
The story of the three little pigs has been all wrong.  That is, according to Alexander Wolf, aka: the Big Bad Wolf.   His version of events is quite different than the original tale we heard as children.  Indeed, he explains that it has all been one big misunderstanding.  Al, as he likes to be called, says “the real story started with a sneeze and a cup of sugar.” 

3. CRITICAL ANALYSIS 
Scieszka’s take on the children’s classic The Three Little Pigs, is a leader in the trend of fractured fairytales.  Told through the eyes of the wolf, he blames his bad rap on one big misunderstanding.  According to Mr. Wolf, he was baking his grandmother a cake for her birthday but ran out of sugar.  He was also sick, and would have these terribly large sneezes.  When visiting his neighbors, the pigs, to ask for sugar he felt a sneeze coming.  Instead of huffing and puffing, as told in the original tale, Mr. Wolf “sneezed a great sneeze.”  Unfortunately, because the homes of the first two little pigs were made of straw and sticks his sneeze blew their houses down, and regrettably the pigs didn’t survive either.  Not being a wasteful wolf, his reason for eating the first little pig was because “It seemed like a shame to leave a perfectly good ham dinner lying there…”  And of course when the second pig died, he explained that “food will spoil if you just leave it out there in the open.”  His logical rationalization is his justification for his actions, which if told in truth would be believable.  And that’s exactly what makes this story so endearing – through the eyes of the wolf it does sound like it could happen.

The clever artwork throughout the book depicts the wolf as a sophisticated animal and not some wild beast out there killing pigs for no good reason.  He wears glasses to give him an intelligent charisma that makes you want to believe his story is true.  After all, who wouldn’t trust a well-spoken, charming wolf in a sweater and red bow tie?  On the other hand, the pigs are portrayed as rude and ill-mannered with no common decency or courtesy to help a neighbor in need. 

4. REVIEW EXCERPT(S)
Golden Sower Awards, 1992

Parent’s Choice Award, 1996

BOOKLIST: “Though this sanguine attitude may not play well with the youngest (Mr. Wolf ruminates on eating rabbits, and one memorable picture shows a cheeseburger with bunny ears coming out of the bun), older kids may have to wrest the book away from adults.”

SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL: “the bespectacled wolf moves with a rather sinister bonelessness, and his juicy sneezes tear like thunderbolts through a dim, grainy world.”

 5. CONNECTIONS
* This book is great to share with children of any age to compare and contrast the original classic with this fractured version.

*Collect other books written by Jon Scieszkasuch as: THE STINKY CHEESE MAN AND OTHER FAIRLY STUPID TALES, MATH CURSE, BALONEY (HENRY P.), and COWBOY AND OCTOPUS.

*Other picture books featuring alternate versions of the Three Little Pigs:
Artell, Mike. THREE LITTLE CAJUN PIGS. Ill. by Jim Harris. ISBN: 0803728158
Schwartz, Corey Rosen. THE THREE NINJA PIGS. Ill. by Dan Santat. ISBN: 0399255141
Teaque, Mark. THE THREE LITTLE PIGS AND THE SOMEWHAT BAD WOLF. ISBN: 0439915015
Trivizas, Eugene. THE THREE LITTLE WOLVES AND THE BIG BAD PIG. Ill. by Helen Oxenbury. ISBN: 9780689815287





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