October 20, 2016

The Three Little Pigs: A Collection of Retellings

Back in May, I put together a collection of our favorite Little Red Riding Hood stories - there are so many good ones - and all these months later, I finally got around to reading various retellings of The Three Little Pigs. 

It's so fun to see what different authors and illustrators can do with the same basic story, whether they make huge changes or just a few little twists on the classic. 

Either way, how could you ever get tired of huffing and puffing or "not by the hair of my chinny-chin-chin?" 

Here are the ones that are most beloved in our home: 

A round-up of the best Three Little Pigs retellings

The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka, illustrated by Lane Smith
This was probably the first version of a fairy tale retelling I was introduced to, back when I was maybe 11 or 12 and my grandmother gave us a copy of this one. I was delighted by the familiar story told from the wolf's point of view and his assertion that he'd been unfairly incarcerated when all he'd been trying to do was borrow a cup of sugar from his porcine neighbors so he could make a cake for his grandmother's birthday. Jon Sciszka and Lane Smith really are a power duo.

The Three Ninja Pigs by Corey Rosen Schwartz, illustrated by Dan Santat
What is it about ninjas that are so appealing right now? Who knows, but this team is making a good little career out of stories based on it, with this one followed by Ninja Red Riding Hood and then Hensel and Gretel: Ninja Chicks. The big, eye-catching illustrations are perfectly matched by the snappy rhyming text. Ella walked in while I was looking at this one on the computer screen and she said, "Oh, I love that one." She's not alone - we're all big fans.

The Three Pigs by David Wiesner
I am such an enormous fan of David Wiesner. This is his second of three Caldecott wins and I love that when the big bad wolf huffs and puffs, it blows the pigs right off the pages of the story and into the white space of the book, where they're able to enter and exit other stories at will. And when you find yourself saving a dragon from death by a knight, well, what else is there to do but bring that dragon back to scare off the wolf?

The Three Little Pigs and the Somewhat Bad Wolf by Mark Teague
I've read this one to Ani, who is obsessed with it, at least a dozen or more times this month, and I still giggle to myself every time the wolf blows down the second house and mumbles to himself, "I still can't believe that worked!" Of course, this wolf isn't so bad - he's just so hungry, he's having a hard time behaving himself. And who among us can blame him?

The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig by Eugene Trivizas, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury
This one is so weird, but. . .  kind of delightfully so. In this one, our soft, fluffy little wolves head out to make their way in the world, and build themselves a nice safe home all together. But then the big bad pig comes and sledgehammers down their house. And as they keep building bigger, stronger houses, the pig keeps getting more aggressive (think dynamite). Finally, they decide to build a house of flowers instead because, why not? And somehow it works out just right. The escalating destruction is perfectly offset by Helen Oxenbury's illustrations.

The Three Little Aliens and the Big Bad Robot by Margaret McNamara, illustrated by Mark Fearing
When three little aliens set out to find homes, they know that the big bad robot will be coming their way soon. My girls loved identifying the planets (there is a little guide in the front) and we were all fans of this otherworldly version on the classic.


P. S. Three more versions I want to read: The Three Little Fish And The Big Bad SharkThe Three Little Tamales and The Three Little Gators.

5 comments:

  1. We love the three little pigs at our house. I really love Weisner too! In story time a few weeks ago, they did a three little pigs theme and one of the stories was Wolf Won't Bite! by Emily Gravett, where the 3 pigs have captured the wolf at the end of their story and put him in the circus. It was cute. The other one we really love that you didn't list is James Marshall's Three Little Pigs (though I think the ending of that one gets dragged out a bit)

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  2. I LOVE The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig! It was one of those books I read over and over again and probably set records for the number of times I checked it out from the library. It has to be at least 10 years since I've read it, but when I started reading this post that book immediately sprang to mind and I thought, "Oh, there's no way it'll be included," so it made me so happy to see that you liked it too! There's something about the weirdness that makes the wolves seem sweet and cuddly and the pig seem like a big ol' bully who just needs a little happiness in his life.

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  3. I've always liked The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs. I grew up in New Mexico so another version I grew up with is The Three Little Javelinas. Being in Arizona, you'd probably better try it out.

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  4. Retellings are so much fun. One of our favorites is The Three Little Javelinas, by Susan Lowell. It's the southwestern version, with Coyote as the villain.
    I'm glad everything is okay with you and the baby. :)

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  5. I love different versions of classic tales! The True Story of the Three Little Pigs is probably my number one all time favorite picture book. Another favorite is The Three Little Javelinas, a great example of how setting changes the story.

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