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The Three Ninja Pigs Hardcover – September 27, 2012
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From School Library Journal
K-Gr 2-In this fractured fairy tale, three little pigs are portrayed as frustrated siblings fed up with a wolf that loves to huff and puff and blow houses down. In an attempt to protect their homes in their Japanese village, they train at a Ninja school. As the first brother begins aikido lessons, he finds himself bored and drops out, which gives him little defense when the wolf comes to call. Pig Two attempts his skill at jujitsu but his confidence is larger than his capabilities, and he is no match for the villain. Their sister is the only one who studies well and practices until she masters karate. When the wolf arrives at her door, she settles the score and sends him running. Learning a lesson from their gutsy sister, the brothers return to their classes with more determination and success. Unlike the original tale, the pigs are given responsibility for their misfortune and a chance for improvement. The story has a clear message that success requires perseverance. The text and glossary include martial-arts terms. Santat's artwork is in manga style and has wonderful depictions of Japanese scenery and architecture. The pigs are full of motion and emotion as they train and battle with the wolf. Youngsters with an interest in martial arts and those seeking strong female characters will relish this picture book.-Diane Antezzo, Ridgefield Library, CTα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
This riotous rumble of a takeoff begins with three pigs—two brothers and a sister—saying enough to the huffy puffy wolf destroying houses in their town. So it’s off to the ninja school, where the first brother takes up aikido, but he drops out in two weeks. The second brother takes jujitsu and makes good progress, but he is too impatient to keep up his lessons. Only sister pig, a karate student, becomes so skilled that she can break boards by “performing a perfect pork chop!” Anyone who knows the original story will be well aware of what comes next, but this standout version has so much motion, action, and laughs, kids will feel like they’re hearing it for the first time. Schwartz’s clever rhyming text flows nicely, and illustrator Santat (who holds a black belt in shotokan) really gets into things. Executed in Sumi brushwork on rice paper (and completed in Adobe Photoshop), the pictures have a three-dimensional feel that’s great when kicks and chops are being executed. Sayonara, Mr. Wolf. Preschool-Grade 3. --Ilene Cooper
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Top Customer Reviews
Pig 3, the sister, is a model of dedicated practice and when her two brothers come running to her house for protection from the wolf, she is ready for him to bring it on! The lesson being, that if one wants to excel at a skill, there is a lot of work and practice involved.
This book could be used to support more than one theme. There's bullying and having to practice to become skilled even if one doesn't feel like it. The artwork consists primarily of brown tones and the characters are drawn with a lot of dramatic expression. There's some clever rhymes but not all of them flow smoothly, a minor criticism.
There's a glossary in the back that gives pronunciations and definitions of the martial arts related words that are in the story (dojo, sensei). It would probably be a good idea to read those first before reading the story. This way a child knows what the words mean while they read the story or it is being read to them.
Bottom line, it's a worthy purchase.
But what I love most about this book is the voice and meter. It is effortless, even when reading for the first time, to hit the creative rhymes on the easy to follow rhythm. The author's use of puns, specifically swine related puns is masterful.