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The True Story of the Three Little Pigs Paperback – March 1, 1996
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From Publishers Weekly
"Designed with uncommon flair," said PW, this "gaily newfangled version of the classic tale" takes sides with the villain. "Imaginative watercolors eschew realism, further updating the tale." A Spanish-language reprint will be issued simultaneously ($4.99, -055758-X). Ages 3-8.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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.
The book begins predictably: the three pigs set out to seek their fortune, and when the first pig builds a house of straw, the wolf blows it down. Here's when the surprises start. The wolf blows the pig right out of the picture and out of the story itself. In the following frames, the story continues as expected: the wolf eats the pig and moves on to the other houses. But the pictures no longer match up. Frames show the bewildered wolf searching hungrily through the rubble as first one, then all the pigs escape the illustrations and caper out into open space with the loose pages of the wolf's tale swirling around them. After fashioning a paper airplane from a passing page, the emancipated pigs soar off on a sort of space flight through blank white spreads, ultimately discovering other picture-book "planets" along the way. Finally, the pigs wander through a near-city of illustrated pages, each suggesting its own story. Joined by the nursery rhyme Cat and Fiddle and a fairy-tale dragon, the pigs find and reassemble the pages to their own story and reenter to find the wolf still at the door. In the end, the story breaks down altogether, as the wolf flees, the text breaks apart, letters spill into a waiting basket, and the animals settle down to a bowl of . . . alphabet soup instead of wolf stew.
Wiesner uses shifting, overlapping artistic styles to help young readers envision the pigs' fantastical voyage. The story begins in a traditional, flat, almost old-fashioned illustrative style. But once the first pig leaps from the picture's frame, he becomes more shaded, bristly with texture, closer to a photographic image. As the pigs travel and enter each new story world, they take on the style of their surroundings--the candy-colored nursery rhyme, the almost comic-book fairy tale--until, in the end, they appear as they did at the beginning. Chatty dialogue balloons also help guide children through the story, providing most of the text once the characters leave the conventional story frames, and much of the humor ("Let's get out of here!" yells one pig as he leaps from a particularly saccharine nursery world). Despite all these clues, children may need help understanding what's happening, particularly with the subtle, open-ended conclusion. But with their early exposure to the Internet and multimedia images, many kids will probably be comfortable shifting between frames and will follow along with delight. Wiesner has created a funny, wildly imagined tale that encourages kids to leap beyond the familiar, to think critically about conventional stories and illustration, and perhaps to flex their imaginations and create wonderfully subversive versions of their own stories. Carolyn Phelan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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The one word of caution for parents who are sensitive about this sort thing: this is working of the classic version of the story, meaning that the first two pigs are in fact killed and eaten. They don't escape to their brother's house and it's made clear that they're killed ("dead as a doornail" is the exact wording, which always tickled me.) Now I personally don't feel this is anything traumatic but it's worth being aware of for parents.
The book is in great condition, it's almost as if I bought it directly from a book fair. the pages are all there and no tears or damage to them either.