Scieszka, Jon, and Lane Smith. The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs! New York, Scholastic Inc., 1989. ISBN 0590443577
This book recounts the story of the three little pigs but from the wolf’s perspective. According to Alexander T. Wolf, he was framed. On the day that he was given the reputation of the Big Bad Wolf, Al was suffering from a terrible cold and ran out of sugar when baking a birthday cake for his dear old granny. When he asked two of his neighbors who were pigs for a cup of sugar, he sneezed and accidently blew down their homes. At the third pig’s brick home, the wolf tried to break down his door only after the third pig insulted his granny. During this process, the police arrived and the news reporters embellished the true story by making him the Big Bad Wolf.
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The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs! is a prime example of a fractured fairy tale. From the first page, readers are immediately drawn in because the classic tale of the three little pigs is about to be told by Alexander T. Wolf. More than likely, readers have never read the story of the three little pigs from the wolf’s perspective and for this reason, they are curious to find out what the wolf considers to be the true story. In regards to the portrayal of good and bad, there is a shift in this retelling. The wolf is now the protagonist; whereas, the third pig, the cops, and the news reporters are the antagonists. Even though the plot is simple and familiar, it is full of humor and action and involves an entertaining and plausible quest to find a cup of sugar. Although the ending does not resolve the conflict in the story, the conclusion in this story is similar to that of the traditional tale ending in where the wolf does not come out triumphant.
In regards to the setting, once again it is similar to the classic fairy tale and occurs during Once Upon a Time time. Moreover, time elapses quite quickly as the wolf shifts from one house to another. The style that Scieszka utilizes in this story maintains somewhat early retellings of the three little pigs but with a twist in that the wolf is narrating the story. The overarching theme in this story, that there are always two sides of a story and each side needs to be given an opportunity to state their version of events prior to passing judgment, is what makes this fractured fairy tale an enjoyable and unforgettable read.
As for the illustrations, the graphics and visuals used in this book complement the story quite well and are also entertaining. For example, the cover of the book showcases the fact that the classic tale was fabricated by news reporters. The wolf is depicted as wearing a business suit so as to make him a good guy; whereas, the third pig is illustrated as being a mean pig. The details in the illustrations evoke a somewhat eerie tone but make the story engaging. All in all, I highly recommend this book because it will a long-lasting effect on you that you will never forget.
Awards Won and Review Excerpt(s):
The New York Times Best Books of the Year citation
ALA Notable Children’s Books citation
Children’s Literature: “In this humorous story, Alexander T. Wolf tells his own outlandish version of what really happens during his encounter with the three pigs…Smith’s simplistic and wacky illustrations add to the effectiveness of this fractured fairy tale.”
School Library Journal: “It’s the type of book that older kids (and adults) will find very funny.”
Publisher’s Weekly: “In this gaily newfangled version of a classic tale, Scieszka and Smith (Flying Jake) argue in favor of the villain, transforming the story of the three little pigs into a playfully suspicious, rather arch account of innocence beleaguered.”
Gather other fractured fairy tales:
Scieszka, Jon, and Lane Smith. The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales. ISBN 067084487X
Trivizas, Eugene, and Helen Oxenbury. The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig. ISBN 068981528X
Loewen, Nancy, Braun, Eric, and Trisha Speed Shaskan. The Other Side of the Story: Fairy Tales with a Twist. ISBN 1479556971
Loewen, Nancy, Shaskan Trisha Speed, and Jessica Gunderson. Another Other Side of the Story: Fairy Tales with a Twist. ISBN 1479557390
Educational activities for this book:
Have students compare and contrast the traditional tale of the three little pigs and this tale. Ask them which version do they prefer and why.
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Pretending to be a newspaper reporter, have students write questions that they would ask both the wolf and the pig.