Children’s Book Review: “The Three Little Pigs” by Steven Kellogg (1997)

As a retelling of the classic and short fairy tale, The Three Little Pigs written and illustrated by Steven Kellogg proves to be a fun read for readers of all ages. Plot differences from “the original” include the pigs’ mother getting more involved with the piglets’ lives, a family business bringing “WAFFLES to the world,” and a less-than-deadly endgame for the Wolf (named Tempesto here).

In using this book for an ESL kindergarten, I found that the children had difficulty following the otherwise-familiar tale. In fact, I had to change a number of the words as I read the book aloud, just to hold their attention throughout the short read. While I certainly can’t blame Kellogg for writing above my foreign kids’ heads—after all, very few authors ever write with ESL readers in mind!—I do think that he should have added a little more of the classic story to the first five pages for the sake of young readers, rather than setting up such a “lengthy” backstory before introducing the straw house on page 6.

The illustrations in Pigs are certainly reminiscent of his style in Jack and the Beanstalk, though I think that his work in that book from 1991 had a bit more life to it. While Pigs feels a lot brighter, Jack contained a great deal more plot inside the artwork than one can find in Pigs, something which lends re-readability to the book’s potential legacy. I did enjoy finding a “peopley bank” on a fireplace mantle in one drawing, just blow a painting by Pablo “Pigasso,” so I wasn’t totally disappointed.

©2015 E.T.

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