Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Three Little Pigs

I have always been a fan of the three little pigs, since I was very little, when my father would tell my brother and I the tale right before bedtime.  He would, of course, tell it from memory, with lots of embellishments and fun voices, for the wolf and for the pigs.  As an adult, I rediscovered the story in many different incarnations.  I have read to my elementary school students many versions of this story, but had never heard of the version by Stephen Kellogg.  I was looking forward to reading it, but truly was not very impressed by it. 

Despite the wafflery and the wolf being wolffled in the end, I simply did not enjoy it very much. Perhaps I found it to be too traditional, but I’m not even certain that’s the right word.  The illustrations of the wolf trying to blow down the houses were certainly not traditional, but I didn’t like them either.  I think the real issue is that the illustrations (the colors, the style, etc.) all seemed traditional, but then the author would throw in these illustrations with the traditional colors, the wolf looking like a superhero and a word like “seeeyooow” spread across the page in comic book style.  It just seemed too out of place and haphazard.

I did think it was interesting that in this version, the three little pigs were given names - something which I believe is rare (the pigs are usually simply referred to as “the first little pig” and so forth.  The addition of the names (Percy, Pete and Prudence) not to mention their mom’s name (Serafina) and the continuing role of Serafina throughout the story (Serafina comes back to save her children) is a definite twist on the traditional tale.

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