pb 10 for 10

The Three Little Pigs as Told by 10 (+3) Picture Books

Few, if any, folktales are as well-known or as easy to tell as The Three Little Pigs. The story probably originated in England, but it is difficult to date. It is so deeply entrenched in popular culture that nearly every English speaker knows the basic plot, including many very small children. It is therefore the perfect story for authors to play with and adapt to their own whims. And play they do! The idea for this 10 for 10 list came about when I was on Twitter plugging The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka, a very funny story told from the wolf’s perspective that I used to regularly read aloud to elementary school students as a public librarian. Carrie Gelson asked me if I had ever read The Three Ninja Pigs by Corey Rosen Schwartz. I had not, but I was intrigued. I already knew of a handful of versions of the The Three Little Pigs; how many more good ones were out there?

three little pigs picture books
My husband’s drawing of a pig

I was very impressed by what I found. A number of very talented authors and illustrators have put their spin on this timeless tale in remarkable ways, adding their own brands of humor and whimsy. While these are not technically my favorite picture books, this is the most fun I have had yet working on a topic for this blog. My children have also immersed themselves in their own research, reenacting the various stories, drawing out their own versions and pouring over each and every one of the texts.

three little pigs books
The Three Little Pigs story as
illustrated by my 5-year-old son

Instead of reviewing each book in detail, I decided to let the books speak for themselves, with a bit of added information. So without further ado, here is the story of:

The Three Little Pigs as Told by 10 (+3) Picture Books

“Once there were three little pigs. They lived on a farm, as most pigs do, and were happy, as most pigs are.
(The Three Little Pigs and the Somewhat Bad Wolf by Mark Teague –
In this story, the wolf reforms himself at the end. Ages 2+)

“One mornin’ dere mama done give ‘em some food
And tell ‘em some news dat don’ make ‘em feel good.
‘It’s time dat you boys find you own place to stay;
I t’ink dat you better start lookin’ today.”
(Three Little Cajun Pigs by Mike Artell is a regional twist on the tale, featuring an alligator instead of a wolf. Ages 4+)

“But remember watch out for the Big Bad Robot. It wants to chew you up.”
(The Three Little Aliens and the Big Bad Robot by Margaret McNamara is set in our solar system and stars three space-traveling aliens. Ages 3+)

“‘The first horrid little pig came across a big pile of straw. ‘This straw is PERFECT for me to build my house,’ he thought.”
(The Three Horrid Little Pigs by Liz Pichon – This twisted tale features naughty pigs and a helpful wolf. Ages 3+)

“Can you believe it? I mean who in his right mind would build a house of straw?”
(The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka – In this book, the wolf attempts to prove his innocence in the case of the murdered pigs. Ages 5+)

“The second little pig met a man with a load of sticks. ‘I’ve got it,’ said the little pig. ‘I’ll buy those sticks and build a house.’ ‘I’d think twice about that,’ said the man.”
(The Three Little Pigs by James Marshall is a straightforward, but entertaining version of the tale. Ages 2+)

“The third little tamale ran until she came to the desert. She saw cactus bristling with thorns. ‘Cactus will make a strong house. The thorns will protect me,’ the third little tamale said.”
(The Three Little Tamales by Eric A. Kimmel is an appetizing story in which the pigs are replaced by tamales. Ages 3+)

“Now, there was an evil wolf who lived in the woods nearby. One day he came to the house of the first little pig and said, ‘Little pig, little pig, let me come in.'”
(The Three Little Pigs: An Architectural Tale by Steven Guarnaccia – This book includes architectural wonders such as Gehry House, the Glass House and Le Corbusier. Ages 4+)

“‘SCRAM!’ shouted the pig. ‘Not by the hairs of my chinny chin chin will I let a WOLF in!’ “
(Pichon)

“‘Then I’ll wiggle my rump with a bump, bump, bump and smash your house!’ Big-bottomed Boar wiggled his bottom and bumped it against [the] house.”
(The Three Little Gators by Helen Ketteman is a hilarious story about three alligators in an east Texas swamp and my son’s favorite title of the bunch. Ages 3+)

“The wolf chased Pig One to his brother’s and hollered, ‘Hey, Pigs, Let me in!’ Pig Two yelled, ‘Retreat! Or you’ll suffer defeat by the hair of my chinny-chin chin.’ One puff and the wolf blew the door down. Pig Two did his best flying kick. But, Whoosh, the wolf dodged and the pig’s foot got lodged. ‘We’ve got to get out of here quick!'”
(The Three Ninja Pigs by Corey Rosen Schwartz – This book is a winner at my house; instead of being victims, these pigs fight against the oppressive wolf. Ages 4+)

“So I went to the next house. The guy was the First and Second Little Pigs’ brother. He must have been the brains of the family. He had built his house of bricks. I knocked on the brick house. No answer. I called,”
(Scieszka)

“Little gators, let me in. I smell three tender gator skins. Chasing you has made me thinner. I need three little gators for my dinner.”
(Ketteman)

“‘No, no, no,’ said the three little wolves, ‘By the hair on our chinny-chin-chins, we will not let you in, not for all the tea leaves in our china teapot!'”
(The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig by Eugene Trivizas is another twisted tale with three good wolves and a really bad pig. Ages 4+)

“Senor Lobo answered,
‘I’ll huff and I’ll puff
like a Texas tornado
and blow your casita
from here to Laredo!'”
(Kimmel)

“So he huffed, and he puffed, and he puffed, and he huffed, but he couldn’t budge the house of stone and concrete.”
(Guarnaccia)

“‘I’ll try another approach,’ muttered the wolf.”
(Marshall)

“The wolf launched himself down the chimney, screeching, ‘Here I come, piggies! You’ll soon be sausages!’ ‘No, we won’t wolfie,’ Serafina cried as the wolf slammed into the red-hot griddle. ‘You’ll soon be a WOLFFLE.’  The sizzling wolf staggered from the waffle iron. But before he could catch his breath, the pigs hosed him to the floor with a blast of maple syrup. Then they smothered him in butter, fogged him from head to toe with powdered sugar, and finished him off with a final squirt of syrup.”
(The Three Little Pigs by Steven Kellogg – This book is my personal favorite; it tells the story straight, but with plenty of juicy details. Ages 4+)

“And they all lived happily ever aft”
(The Three Pigs by David Wiesner – This Caldecott-winner does not exactly tell the story of the Three Little Pigs. It tells the story of the three pigs escaping from the Three Little Pigs book and having a series of adventures in other books. My daughter is a big fan of this title. Ages 4+)

THE END
(For more 2013 pb10for10 posts go to http://www.enjoy-embracelearning.blogspot.com/ or http://reflectandrefine.blogspot.com/)

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9 thoughts on “The Three Little Pigs as Told by 10 (+3) Picture Books

  1. Catherine

    I love your list! What an amazing variety of takes on the same basic story. Have you seen The Three Little Javelinas by Susan Lowell? This time, the story takes place in the Southwest desert.
    Thanks for sharing!

    1. Elizabeth Low Post author

      I put the Three Little Javelinas on hold at the library, but sadly it didn’t arrive on time to review. I’ve heard good things about it though. Thanks!

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