Who does not know the story of the three little pigs? These adorable characters have become embedded in the lives of children for who-knows-how-long. Prior to this pig-out yuletide theme, I have been googling about the fractured versions of The Three Little Pigs. Lucky for me, there were about hundreds of them! Three of which will be featured for today’s review!
First pig story on the list—Steven Guarnaccia’s The Three Little Pigs: An Architectural Tale. This is a postmodern retelling of the children’s classic. Same characters, same setup, but with a different twist.
“One day, the three pigs said good-bye to their mother and went off to make their way in the world.”
As one may have noticed from the cover page, our three little pigs are not so little anymore. They are all grown up and thus have decided to leave home and pursue their own career paths.
Three things to note about the three little pigs and their respective houses. First, we no longer see houses made of straws and sticks but of scraps and glass. Contemporary artists nowadays have been trying to come up with art pieces made of recycled materials—such as ‘scraps’ and ‘glass.’ Try looking at home & living magazines and you’ll find interesting house models or furniture. Second, although it follows the same concept, the house of bricks have been replaced by stone and concrete. While more and more houses are being build around the community where I live, the dry walls that construction companies use are nothing compared to the concrete houses they make in the Philippines. Concrete houses still offer a stronger foundation for a house. Having said both points, Guarnaccia’s fractured version of the three little pigs, therefore, is a celebration of architects and designers whose works have been reproduced in the book—in the form of blueprints or the actual piece itself.
Even Big Bad Wolf himself has undergone a transormation to have a more modern appeal—skinny jeans, leather boots and jacket, a pair of sunglasses, spiked hair and goatee, and a motorcycle to complete the picture. After all, bikers in real life have a “badass” reputation.
The Big Bad(ass) Wolf in the story still huffed and puffed and blew their houses in. Yet again, he learns his lesson a different way as he tried to climb onto the roof of the third little pig’s house and jumped down the chimney—with a roaring fire that scorched his tail so bad he had to run away deep into the forest.
The second fractured tale is called Pig, Pigger, Piggest written by Rick Walton and illustrated by Jimmy Holder. The pigs are adorable, mostly because Jimmy Holder made his little pigs “plumper” than normal, with double chins and rosy cheeks.
“Once upon a time, there were three pigs: a big pig named Pig, a bigger pig named Pigger, and the biggest of the three named Piggest.”
Our characters lived in a castle. But because it’s not big enough for them anymore, they had to leave and build their own homes.
“Pig found a nice, muddy spot for his castle. He formed the mud into a million bricks and began to build. And soon he had a tall-wall, thick-brick castle of his very own.”
“In came Huff and Puff. They blew, they thundered, and then they rained big drops of rain.”
The underlying concept of the original piece is still there but readers are already taken into a different world as Rick Walton modified certain aspects of the story. First, our pigs our now blessed with royal blood. Second, the Big Bad Wolf has been taken out of the picture completely and was replaced by Witch, Witcher, and Witchest. These three sister witches wanted to buy the pigs houses but the pigs wouldn’t let them so they had to summon Huff and Puff, Huffer and Puffer, and Huffest and Puffest to bring down their mud castles. This leads me to my third point. No houses of straws, sticks, or stones. Only mud castles, because our pigs love their mud so much! This muddy tale ends with the marriage of the pigs to the witches, where “they all lived sloppily ever after.”
This book is a good starting point to teach kids a little about English grammar. Rick Walton incorporates the use of adjectives as well as their comparative and superlative forms. (Mind you, I have to research on these again just so I know what to call them. Haha.) Although there are no such things as pig, pigger, piggest or witch, witcher, witchest or cat, catter, cattest or huff and puff, huffer and puffer, huffest and puffest, it helps kids understand the use of -er and -est, which is just one of the forms of comparative and superlative adjectives. A good play on story and words.
The third and final featured book for this review is Liz Pichon’s The Three Horrid Little Pigs. This is a more kiddie version of The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig by Eugene Trivizas (which was also featured in Myra’s fractured tales review as could be seen here). The title alone already gives you an idea what this version is about.
“Once upon a time, three horrid little pigs lived with their mother in a tiny house. The little pigs were very bad and they drove their mother crazy!
“I’ve had enough of you pesky pigs,” she told them.
“So she packed their bags and sent them away.”
What do you expect from three pesky little pigs? Nothing but trouble! They have way too much time in their hands to fool around. As the story progresses, we see each pig steal from other animals to build their PERFECT house. Our first pig steals a big pile of straw from the cows. Our second pig steals a huge pile of twigs from the birds. Our third pig is the laziest of all: “he couldn’t be bothered to build a house at all. So he found a nice chicken coop instead… and moved in.”
And guess who gets to say the famous lines, “I’ll huff and I’ll puff?” Not the big friendly wolf (who just happened to be a builder). Why, our little pigs, of course! The cows, the birds, and the chickens had their revenge in the end. In this hilarious mix-up of characters and values, our pigs eventually learn the importance of hardwork, courtesy, and respect.
“The friendly wolf let the pigs stay. And after a while they stopped being lazy, horrid little pigs and learned how to build a sturdy house made of bricks…which was big enough for EVERYONE! And they all lived happily ever after.”
Each of these tales are wonders of their own. Try searching for more fractured tales of the three little pigs and join our pig-out celebration. As I leave you with pig-ful of kisses, here’s a little something from Mickey Mouse and Walt Disney.