The Three Little Pigs

Jennifer Bostwick
March 16, 2011

"Then I'll huff and I'll puff and I'll blow your house in!" This refrain from the classic version of The Three Little Pigs surely elicits memories of little pigs, a big scary wolf and lessons about the value of hard work. While most fairy tales are timeless, with messages  that remain pertinent throughout the ages, modern versions can entice your little ones with more relevant characters and images.  Additionally, modern versions offer you and your reading pal a variety of material when he is stuck on a certain fable or rhyme.  This can make reading fun and engaging by creating tremendous fodder for discussion.  What did the wolf do differently in this book than in the first one we read?  Why do you think he did that? 

In the classic version of The Three Little Pigs, three little pigs try to make it on their own in the world and are forced to learn the value of hard work and the consequences of being lazy.  Helen Oxenbury's The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig turns the fairytale completely on its head.  Now, instead of pigs trying to protect themselves from a predatory wolf, the little wolves are constructing elaborate security structures to protect themselves from the horrendous pig that in the end just needs a little love and understanding.  Children are curious and empathetic when they read this story and rethink the themes in The Three Little Pigs. In this same vein, The Three Horrid Little Pigs tells the story of grumpy and ungrateful little pigs who drive their mother crazy.  They eventually find themselves without shelters, due to their own wily ways, and a helpful wolf comes along to save the day and teach them a lesson or two. Have fun comparing and contrasting these versions of the fairytale with your little one.  But, don't be surprised if the pneumatic drill and house built of flowers dominate the conversation.

Another creative interpretation of the classic tale sends The Three Pigs soaring off the page and into new adventures.  One even rides a paper airplane.  Your little one will delight in this retelling that gives new life and texture to old themes. The True Story of the Three Little Pigs By A. Wolf tells the story from the wolf's point of view, describing how the whole story was just one big misunderstanding. How fun to learn that the wolf may not be so big and bad after all!  This story will help your preschooler to question and analyze characters by wondering what the antagonist might have thought or felt.  He will easily engage in a discussion:  What if the wolf wasn't so bad after all?

Fresh characters can add new texture to old themes in The Three Little Pigs. Some authors have modernized the story by using using new animal characters.   Check out these three books to hear how a variety of animals conquer their predator and learn some sound lessons:  Three Little Javelinas, The Three Little Fish and the Big Bad Shark, Three Little Gators

Take a day to explore these amusing revisions of a classic fairytale with your littlest lit lover.  You are sure to be reciting "Not by the hair of my chinny chin chin" or maybe even "Not by the skin of my finny, fin, fin" for days to come.




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