Books CORL (Check Off your Reading List) Challenge 2014 GB Challenges Picture Books Reading Themes Saturday Cybils

[Cybils Saturday] Of Ribbity Pigs, Wolves and Foxes, and Sweet Mother Goose

The CYBILS logo was downloaded from the CYBILS official website.
The CYBILS logo was downloaded from the CYBILS official website. Special thanks to Fats for creating this lovely widget.

Myra here.

As Fats has announced a few weeks back, our Saturdays until the end of February would be devoted to featuring nominated and shortlisted titles for the Cybils Awards in 2013.

Today I have three delightful animal picture books with delicious twists in their narrative.


Written byRodrigo Folgueira Illustrated by: Poly Bernatene
Published by: Alfred A. Knopf, 2013
Borrowed from the library. Book photos taken by me.

The story begins with a description of a quiet pond, home to a family of frogs. The frogs woke up one morning however to find a very unusual visitor.

There was a “little pink pig” who was sitting on a rock. And instead of saying “Oink” as you would expect from most pigs, he croaked “Ribbit” instead. The frogs were confused, a few were even suspicious and wondering whether the pig was making fun of them.


Pretty soon, most of the forest animals came by to ogle at the ribbity-pig. The raccoon observed that the frogs’ new relative is a little too pink, and the weasel noted that he does sound like a frog, while the parrot asked why a pig wants to be a frog, which made the frogs indignant.


After much heated debate and a great deal of speculation (not to mention puzzled consternation), the Chief Frog decided to consult the wise old beetle and ask him about this strange pink pig who goes ribbit. When they brought the beetle to the once-quiet pond though, the pig has disappeared. What could he be doing there? What does he want? This, I shall leave for you to discover. A great book to read-aloud to a group of young kids. I have no doubt they’d love this one.

The Three Little Pigs and the Somewhat Bad WolfIMG_1215

Written and Illustrated By: Mark Teague
Published by: Orchard Books, 2013
Borrowed from the library. Book photos taken by me.

I know Mark Teague’s work through his Detective LaRue series. We reviewed his Letters from Obedience School, Detective LaRue, and La Rue for Mayor for our Message in a Bottle bimonthly theme in 2011.

This book, as can be deduced from the title, is a fractured retelling of the famous Three Little Pigs. Instead of living with their mother though, these three pigs also lived on a farm owned by a husband and wife who were moving to Florida. And so they paid the pigs a good amount of money for the work that they did and were sent on their way.


There are familiar elements that can be discerned in the story with the straw house built by He-Pig number one, a house made of sticks made by He-Pig Number Two, and a house made of bricks painstakingly created by She-Pig Number Three who wisely thought of buying building supplies from her share of the money.


Throw in bottles of sody-pop, boxes of potato chips, and a hungry wolf who was refused entry in quite a number of eating establishments and a lot of huffing and puffing – and voila! You have an amazingly-crafted fractured fairy-tale with a smart twist in the end with a clear declaration of “My house, My rules.” Definitely among one of my favorite retellings of The Three Little Pigs. If you wish to see varying shades of huff and puff, click here, and here, and the last one is my absolute favourite version created by Frank Muir and Graham Philpot.

That is Not a Good IdeaIMG_1203

Written and Illustrated By: Mo Willems
Published by: Balzer + Bray: An Imprint of Harper Collins Publisher, 2013
Borrowed from the library. Book photos taken by me.

I love most everything that Mo Willems comes up with and this one is no exception. Mother Goose is talking a walk in a semi-deserted alley when the dapper young fox asked her innocently enough if she wants to go for a stroll.


The foreshadowing is pretty much evident as the narrative is frequently interrupted by freshly-hatched chicks who exclaim with a measure of trepidation:


Pretty soon, the wily fox invites the unsuspecting and innocent Mother Goose to his nearby kitchen, even asking her to boil some water for the soup that he is making. And we see the little chicks jumping up and down interrupting the tale with their exclamations of:


The suprising twist in the end made me laugh out loud in sheer glee. I love everything about this book: the gradual build-up, Mo Willems’ signature artwork, the typography, the sparse text, and the brilliant ending, plus the delightful asides by the little chicks. I could imagine young kids jumping up and down echoing the hatchlings’ many warnings.

These three tales reminded me of how much I love fractured retellings of beloved tales. For those who would like to know more stories of this theme, we have a list of fractured fairy tale theme which you might want to check out.



Reading Update: 23, 24, 25 of 25

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Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

1 comment on “[Cybils Saturday] Of Ribbity Pigs, Wolves and Foxes, and Sweet Mother Goose

  1. Pingback: [Saturday Reads] Elephant and Piggie Say Thank You… and Goodbye – Gathering Books

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