The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs! by Jon Scieszka

Scieszka, Jon. 1989. The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs!. Ill. by Lane Smith. New York: Viking. ISBN 0670827592

The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs! as told by Jon Scieszka is an entertaining take on the traditional story told from the wolf’s point of view.  Instead of the wolf being big and bad, Alexander T. Wolf simply has a cold and is attempting to borrow a sup of sugar from some “not very smart” neighbors who just happened to be pigs.  The wolf sneezes, which is what knocks the first two houses down, and eats the pigs because, “It seemed like a shame to leave a perfectly good ham dinner lying there in the straw.”  When he reaches the third pig’s house, he is turned away rudely.  Just as he is preparing to leave, he sneezes and the pig insults his grandmother.  Of course the cops arrive while Alexander is reacting to what the pig said.  Al Wolf then blames the paper, saying the real story wasn’t exciting enough so he was framed instead and the journalists made him “Big and Bad.”

This “fractured fairy tale” version of “The Three Little Pigs” is not only funny to children who are familiar with the traditional version, but also a good example of how two people can have very different views of the same event.  It would probably work well alongside “The Blind Men and the Elephant” story.  Also, several of the headlines in Wolf’s newspaper lend themselves to further fractured tales that the kids could write themselves.

Smith’s artwork is memorable.  Not only does it seem to focus of brown overtones, but there is a gritty feel to it.  Alexander Wolf looks a like a slightly crazy professor with his bow-tie, vest and glasses , the pigs have disturbing body hair, and one of the police pigs has awfully sharp teeth on the page where Wolf gets arrested.  On the pages that are primarily white, at least one letter is made out of something else, like sausage links or straw.  This artwork along with the amusing storyline is what makes this version of “The Three Little Pigs” so memorable.


KIRKUS: “One of life’s more important lessons is that a second view of the same events may yield a story that is entirely different from another but equally ‘true’… Not for little children, but middle grades and up should be entertained while taking the point about the unreliability of witnesses”


SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL: “Smith’s dark tones and sometimes shadowy, indistinct shapes recall the distinctive illustrations he did for Merriam’s Halloween ABC (Macmillan, 1987); the bespectacled wolf moves with a rather sinister bonelessness, and his juicy sneezes tear like thunderbolts through a dim, grainy world. “



“The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka, Lane Smith.” Kirkus Review. Kirkus Reviews Issue:Aug. 15th, 1989. Review Posted Online:March 13th, 2012.

Peters, JohnJones, Trevelyn E.Toth, LuannSuhr, Virginia M.J. 1989. “The True Story of the Three Little Pigs (Book).” School Library Journal 35, no. 14: 108. Teacher Reference Center, EBSCOhost (accessed September 25, 2013).

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