Wiesner, D. (2001). The Three Pigs. New York, NY: Clarion Books.
The story of the “Three Little Pigs” begins off as expected with three pigs choosing to build their houses out of straw, sticks, and bricks. When a wolf comes along to blow down the house of straw, he blows the first pig out of the panel of the story. This first pig convinces the other two to follow him on an adventure outside of their own. They travel through “Hey Diddle Diddle” and a story about a dragon who must be slain before deciding to return to their own story and alter the ending.
This delightful re-imagining of a classic fable uses differences in illustration technique to show the difference between the three stories and the “real world” that immediately convey to the reader what is happening as the characters move between panels and different stories. We move from a comic style in the original three pigs story to a more realistic illustration, then “Hey Diddle Diddle” takes us to a colorful, bright, and whimsical world. Finally, the dragon’s story is black and white, the starkest difference from the real world portrayed in this picture book between stories.
The ending where the pigs turn their story upside down to get the ending they desire shows the reader in an obvious but delightful lesson—we are in control of our own stories. We write them ourselves and have the freedom to do what we wish with them, whether it is making friends outside our own “story,” defeating the bully, or escaping from what we’ve always known.
From Publisher’s Weekly: “ Wiesner’s (Tuesday) brilliant use of white space and perspective (as the pigs fly to the upper right-hand corner of a spread on their makeshift plane, or as one pig’s snout dominates a full page) evokes a feeling that the characters can navigate endless possibilities–and that the range of story itself is limitless.”
From School Library Journal: “Children will delight in the changing perspectives, the effect of the wolf’s folded-paper body, and the whole notion of the interrupted narrative.”
From Booklist: “Jon Scieszka’s The True Story of the Three Little Pigs (1989) turned the favorite porkers’ story upside-down by allowing the grossly misjudged wolf to tell his side of the story. Wiesner’s latest is a post-modern fantasy for young readers that takes Scieszka’s fragmentation a step further: it not only breaks apart and deliciously reinvents the pigs’ tale, it invites readers to step beyond the boundaries of story and picture book altogether.”
-Use in connection with other versions of The Three Little Pigs:
The Three Little Pigs by James Marshall
The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Sciezka
The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig by Eugene Trivizas
No Lie, Pigs (and Their Houses) Can Fly!: The Story of the Three Little Pigs As
Told By the Big Bad Wolf by Jessica Gunderson
The Three Ninja Pigs by Corey Rosen Schwartz
-Read with other fables:
The Ant and the Grasshopper by Rebecca and Ed Emberley
The Tortoise and the Hare by Jerry Pinkney
The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney
The Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing by Mark White