The Three Pigs
“Once upon a time three pigs built three houses, out of straw, sticks, and bricks. Along came a wolf, who huffed and puffed…” Keep reading…
Author and illustrator David Wiesner explores the nature of storytelling in his book, The Three Pigs. In a new spin on this classic tale, Wiesner gives the three pigs a chance to change their fate. On the prowl for dinner, the wolf approaches the straw house, and he huffs and puffs and blows the pigs right out of the story frame. The classic tale of “The Three Little Pigs” continues on, but without the pigs to play their part. Having escaped their fate of becoming ham dinners, the three pigs stay outside of the main story, leaving behind a perplexed and hungry wolf. They decide to embark on new adventures by entering the pages of other stories.
Flexing his creative muscle, Wiesner demonstrates a variety of different illustration styles as the three pigs enter different story lines. The visual narrative in this story blows my mind. The composition, vast open white space and skewed perspective assist the narrative by helping readers to make the leap out of two-dimensional story books into a world of possibilities when the pigs step out of the story frame.
With very little text the book relies on the visuals to fill in the blanks. Wiesner uses the characters’ facial expressions to inject some subtle humor on the pages. Even the text itself has been cleverly used as a visual prop: the type falls out when one of the story panels gets knocked over, and on another page, the characters rearrange the text to change the storyline. His ability to time a punchline, build suspense, organize a sequence of images without causing confusion, all while creating a visual flow, provide readers with a cinematic experience that David Wiesner is celebrated for.
To read more on the making of The Three Pigs, check out David Wiesner’s interview with Tom Bodett, host of “Loose Leaf Book Company”, at www.houghtonmifflinbooks.com
The Three Pigs, a children’s book review by Thao Lam
Author and Illustrator David Wiesner
In 2002, The Three Pigs was awarded the most distinguished American award for children’s picture books, the Caldecott Medal, which is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children (a division of the American Library Association). It was Wiesner’s second book to win this medal; Flotsam and Tuesday (previously profiled on B is for Books) were awarded the Caldecott as well.
From flying frogs to flying pigs, David Wiesner makes you believe in the weird and wonderful. Check out David Wiesner’s website for other great books by this wonderful author and illustrator: www.houghtonmifflinbooks.com
Publisher Clarion Books; First Edition, Second Printing edition (April 23, 2001)