Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Three Pigs

Thank you, Angela Crider, for a lovely reflection on the illustrations!

Wiesner, D. (2001). The three pigs. New York: Clarion Books.

"Then I'll huff and I'll puff and I'll blow your house in..."

We all remember it. This is the classic story of the three little pigs. Or is it?
In this non-traditional take on the classic story, David Wiesner tells the story of the three little pigs as they would have it - from their point-of-view. Have you ever read the story and wished the poor little pigs could miraculously escape the wrath of the big bad wolf? This is precisely what happens as the pigs literally escape from the story, discovering they can hop in and out of various classic stories. Riding along on the paper airplane devised from the pages of their own story, the three pigs visit other stories, rescuing characters such as the infamous dragon getting ready to be slain by the knight and the cat from "Hey, Diddle Diddle." These characters are invited to come along on their adventure into the world of stories.

I absolutely could not get enough of this book, and the illustrations make the story. On the surface, it seems as though it is going to follow the traditional storyline, but the characters discover they can hop from story-to-story, taking on the looks of those illustrations. Wiesner had to use several artistic approaches to accomplish the feel that was needed to make this book come to life. The illustrations begin very cookie-cutter and cartoon-like with small framed pictures. Things change, however, when the pigs begin to leave the story. They become much more three-dimensional, and they are able to see the framed images from an outside perspective. The use of negative space, pages without words, and word balloons for what the pigs are saying really bring the story to life and make the reader feel as though they are on the pigs' journey.
The Three Pigs won the 2002 Caldecott Medal and for good reason. For me, this book does more than just tell a story. In a modern society where trend-setting is encouraged, this book does just that. It reminds the reader that it is okay to stand out and be different, even when everyone is expecting you to fit in.

Big Questions:
  1. Why do you think it is important to step out of the box as the three pigs did?
  2. How do you think the other stories changed when the pigs rescued the characters such as the dragon?

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