Jon Scieszka,
The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs
(Viking, 1989;
Puffin, 1996)

Finally, after all this time, Alexander T. Wolf (alias "the Big Bad Wolf") emerges to tell his side of the 3 Little Pigs tragedy. Blaming a publicity-frenzied press for exaggerating the truth of the story, he asserts his innocence, rationalizes the nature of the circumstances and indulges here and there in the art of blaming the victim. While admitting he did destroy the houses of the first two pigs and eat the unfortunate home-owners, he explains that "the real story is about a sneeze and a cup of sugar."

On the day in question, Mr. Wolf, despite suffering from a bad cold, was making a cake for his dear old granny when he ran out of sugar. Naturally, he went around to his closest neighbors (who happened to be pigs) to borrow enough to finish his cake, but the pigs were all quite rude and refused to help him. That would have been all there was to the story had it not been for the wolf's insufferable head cold, which caused him to sneeze on the occasions of his first two visits. It wasn't his fault that the first two little pigs had unwisely built their houses of straw and sticks, respectively. One sneeze was all it took to knock each house down onto it's piggy occupant -- and, seeing the pigs tragically killed, Mr. Wolf saw no reason to let a couple of perfectly good ham dinners lie there going to ruin. As to why he was seen attacking the front door of the third little pig's brick house, A. Wolf has a perfectly reasonable explanation for that, as well.

Perhaps I should point out the fact that A. Wolf did not technically write this book himself -- for obvious reasons (they don't allow typewriters in prison, and it's devilishly hard to hold and control a pen when all you have to work with are paws). This is his story as told to Jon Scieszka and illustrated quite lavishly by Lane Smith. It makes for a delightful, colorful, witty romp that almost all children (and most of their parents) will relish.

by Daniel Jolley
6 January 2007

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