The True Story of the Three Little Pigs
Written by: Jon Scieszka
Illustrated by: Lane Smith
Published by: Penguin Young Readers Group
Copyright Date: 1996
Number of Pages: 32
Awards: The New York Times Best Illustrated Books of the Year.
We all have those timeless stories that we heard growing up that are near and dear to our hearts. Most of those traditional stories are fairytales that are passed down from generation to generation. The stories share very concrete characters and sequences; however, some clever authors love to take classic fairytales and give them a twist. These twisted classics are called the fractured fairytale, and they are amusing to read. This particular story is a twist on the classic Three Little Pigs story except it is told from the wolf’s perspective. Of course the ‘Big Bad Wolf’ paints himself as an innocent bystander to unfortunate circumstances that befall the pigs. The switch in perspective gives a fresh lens to view this old tale.
In order to capture the attention of young readers, a book must have interesting pictures. This book captures my attention because of the mixed medium of drawing and what looks like newspaper print. Lane Smith is amazing at crafting different mediums of art into his illustrations. In an interview for a blog, he was asked his favorite medium to use in illustrating, and his response was “I like a little bit of everything. Mixed media is the best description. Sometimes I paint in oils and I collage bits of paper into the work. Sometimes I do charcoal or pencil drawings.” (Lane Smith, http://www.estellabooks.blogspot.com/ ). You can see the mixed medium throughout The True Story of the Three Little Pigs. It is no wonder that he has won so many awards for his illustrations such as Caldecott Medal, Silver Medal Society of Illustrators, New York Times Best Illustrated Book.
Just as traditional literature in essential in a literacy rich classroom so is the fractured fairytale in most Kindergarten through Second Grade classes. This particular story can be used to help children to distinguish point of view in the story. Because the basic storyline of the Three Little Pigs is the backbone of the story the children can better understand the shift in the point of view. I would have the students to write a newpaper interview with the Big Bad Wolf trying to tell why he needs to get out of jail. This story alongside the original folktale can aid in the teaching of the compare and contrast concept in the Language Arts standards. I would have the students discuss differences and similarities in both the traditional story and the fractured fairytale. I might use this to open up a history lesson. By telling the story from the perspective of the wolf, the story changes, and I would connect that through discussion of historical events. I would prompt the students in discussion of certain historical events and guide their discussion to see both parties have a story just like the wolf and pigs have different perspectives of the same story. We would probably use a T chart to write down the different sides of event. Fractured fariytales are not just amusing to read, but they can help provide a much needed perspective change on some old classics.