Review of "Three Little Pigs"

Three Little Pigs Review by Catherine Baty

1. BIBLIOGRAPHY
Banta, Milt, and Al Dempster. Walt Disney’s the Three Little Pigs. New York: Golden Book, 2004

2. PLOT SUMMARY
Three pig brothers go out into the world. First they must build homes. The first pig is lazy and quickly builds a house of straw. The second pig is just about as lazy as the first, and builds his house out of sticks. The third pig is strict and knows that he needs a strong house because the woods are nearby and in them, lives a wolf. His brothers make fun of him for working so hard, but the third pig does not budge. The third pig is right though, and the wolf does come. First to the house of straw, which he makes quick work of by blowing it all down. Then to the house of sticks, where he pretends to be a sheep, but his disguise does not fool the little pigs. So, the wolf blows down the house of sticks too. The two pigs run to their brothers sturdy house of bricks. The wolf, not to be deterred, tries to go down their chimney, but lands in a pot of boiling water! The water makes the wolf jump right out of the chimney, and the pigs never see him again.

3. CRITICAL ANALYSIS
Three Little Pigs is a beast tale. Between the four characters there are three archetypes. The first two pigs, supporting characters, are fools. Even though they know of the nearby danger they place importance on fun instead of safety. The protagonist, the third pig, is a hero by saving his brothers, but he also has king traits, like being controlling of his own environment. The antagonist, the wolf, is a criminal. Smooth and smart he uses his physical strength when it is easy, but also his mind when the situation calls for it, as with the sheep skin and going through the chimney. The story is representative of the importance of preparation. The third pig was able to save his brothers because he put aside childish fancy in order to build a proper house. The plot is nicely episodic which lends nicely to telling the story with or without the book.
This book is an adaption of the Walt Disney Film of the same name and thus retains some of the Disney magic in terms of musicality. The pigs have little songs that children will enjoy and if the book is read multiple times the children can learn the songs to have a more interactive story time. Elements of the older Three Pigs tales are there, as well. The repetition of “…not by the hair of my chinny, chin, chin!” will have kids participating in a snap.
One thing that I like about the Three Pigs tale in general is its adaptiveness, since its motif is magic animals by way of anthropomorphized pigs, and pigs are fairly common around the world, the story’s setting can change depending on the person taking it in. If the story is being told without a book, the setting is only limited by the listeners imagination.
The illustrations of this book are fanciful and make great use of color. The pigs clearly have personality on the page. In one illustration the first two brothers are dancing and the motion is so neatly captured, that I can easily imagine the animation from which they originated even though I have never seen it. If the reader enjoys with classic Disney materials, they will find themselves enthralled with the art on these pages, which beg the reader to sing along with the pigs.

4. REVIEW EXCERPTS
Judging by their Amazon.com and Librarything.com presence, Three Little Pigs has been purchased quite a lot, however it has not seem to have warranted any journal reviews that I can find, which is unfortunate. Below are three reviews from the Amazon.com listing for the book, which can be found (here).

“An absolutely charming book, based on the classic Disney cartoon. It’s a joy to read this to my daughter.” – Matthew J. on May 21st 2017

“I purchased this book because I enjoyed it going up and I read it to my children. Now I’m a grandma and decided to start reading to my grandchildren and they love it” – Madeline Hamilton on November 23rd 2013

“If you are after a book that you are planing to read loud to your child, then considering the comprehensive story with some rhymes, this book may be a good option.” – Muttley on August 6th 2014

5. CONNECTIONS

Gather different tellings of The Three Little Pigs and discuss the differences. Books that are vastly different are best suited to this activity, such as:

  • Scieszka, Jon, The True Story of the Three Little Pigs ISBN  9780451471956
  • McNamara, Margaret and Mark Fearing, The Three Little Aliens and the Big Bad Robot ISBN 9780525578857
  • Sierra, Judy and Otto Seibold, Tell the Truth, B.B. Wolf ISBN  9780375856204

Gather with other Golden Book traditional literature. Have the students choose their favorites and talk about them to the class. Use works such as:

  • Muldrow, Diane and J.P. Miller, The Little Red Hen ISBN 9780307960306
  • Fontes, Justine and Ron, and Keiko Monoyama, How the Turtle Got Its Shell ISBN 9780307960078
  • Disney, RH, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (Disney Classic) ISBN 9780736421867
  • Werner, Jane and Retta Scott Worcester, Cinderella (Disney Classic) ISBN 9780736421515

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