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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Module 3: The Three Pigs

Module 3: Caldecott Award

The Three Pigs
Author and Illustrator: David Wiesner

Book Summary:
The Three Pigs is actually a story within a story, or stories rather. The story begins with the tried and true fairy tale about the three little pigs and the wolf that huffs and puffs. However, after the wolf’s first attempt at blowing the little pig’s house down, he blows the pig right out of the story. The first pig that is out of the frame of the story gets the other two pigs to join him, and they go on a paper airplane adventure through other stories all the while taking characters out of their respective stories to join them. The pigs ultimately return to their own story, but the popular fairy tale has a few added characters such as a dragon and the cat and its fiddle. 

APA Book Reference:

Wiesner, D. (2001). The three pigs. New York, NY: Clarion Books.


I was pleasantly surprised by this book. From the title, I thought it would be another fairy tale about three pigs who build different types of houses to withstand the mighty breath of a wolf. And that is how this story begins, but the pigs actually find their way out of the story and travel through other stories. I really enjoyed the concept of this book as well as how the illustrations show that the pigs are indeed not in the story anymore. The background is simply white space and the pigs can hold onto frames and pages from their own story to put it back together and reenter it. The last page that has the pig hanging the letters of the story was very creative as well. I also enjoyed how the illustrations are more cartoonish when the pigs and other characters are in their respective stories, but when they are in the white space containing no stories, they are illustrated more realistically. I’m not sure what other books were in the running for the Caldecott award in 2002, but this book was definitely deserving of the award.

Professional Review: 

Lukehart, W. (2001). The three pigs. School Library Journal, 47(4). 126. Retrieved from:

“K-Gr 6-In Tuesday (Clarion, 1991), Wiesner demonstrated that pigs could fly. Here, he shows what happens when they take control of their story. In an L. Leslie Brooke sort of style (the illustrations are created through a combination of watercolor, gouache, colored inks, and pencils), the wolf comes a-knocking on the straw house. When he puffs, the pig gets blown "right out of the story." (The double spread contains four panels on a white background; the first two follow the familiar story line, but the pig falls out of the third frame, so in the fourth, the wolf looks quite perplexed.) So it goes until the pigs bump the story panels aside, fold one with the wolf on it into a paper airplane, and take to the air. Children will delight in the changing perspectives, the effect of the wolf's folded-paper body, and the whole notion of the interrupted narrative. Wiesner's luxurious use of white space with the textured pigs zooming in and out of view is fresh and funny. They wander through other stories-their bodies changing to take on the new style of illustration as they enter the pages-emerging with a dragon and the cat with a fiddle. The cat draws their attention to a panel with a brick house, and they all sit down to soup, while one of the pigs reconstructs the text. Witty dialogue and physical comedy abound in this inspired retelling of a familiar favorite.-Wendy Lukehart, Dauphin County Library, Harrisburg, PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.”

Library Uses:

This book could be used in a program consisting of “modern day fairy tales” or “twisted fairy tales” along with the books Jon Scieszka’s The Stinky Cheese Man or David Ezra Stein’s Interrupting Chicken. This book could also be used as an example of “thinking outside of the box.”

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