________________ CM . . . . Volume XI Number 14 . . . . March 18, 2005

cover The 3 Little Pigs.

Marie-Louise Gay.
Toronto, ON: Groundwood, 1994/2004.
32 pp., pbk., $6.95.
ISBN 0-88899-639-X.

Preschool-grade 3 / Ages 4-8.

Review by Barbara Taylor.

**** /4


There was an old sow with three little pigs, and as she had not enough to keep them, she sent them out to seek their fortunes.

The first that went off met a man with a bundle of straw and said, "Please, man, give me that straw to build me a house."

Which the man did, and the pig built a house with it.

This is a delightful, traditional retelling of the Three Little Pigs. The story works well for parents and teachers wanting an unadulterated version of the tale suitably written for children 4-8 years old. All the delightful "huffing and puffing" is included in the story, making it a great read-along experience.

internal art     In the story, the three little pigs are sent out to make their way in the world. The first pig builds his house of straw. The big bad wolf blows it down and eats the pig. The second pig builds his house of wood. Again the wolf blows it down and eats the pig. The third pig builds his house of bricks. When the wolf fails to blow it down, he tries to trick the pig into leaving the house, first going to a turnip field to pick some turnips, then to "Merry Garden" to pick apples and finally by going to the town fair. The pig outsmarts the wolf in all three instances. Finally the wolf is so angered that he tries to climb down the pig's chimney. The pig puts a kettle of water on to boil over the fire, and the wolf ends up as the pig's supper.

     While the tale is familiar and there are many good versions of this story on the market, the colourful pen and ink illustrations by Marie-Louise Gay engage the reader, both in understanding what is happening as well as predicting what will happen next. A wonderful example of this is the illustration of the second pig building his house. Nails are falling out of his tool sack as he climbs a wobbly ladder up the side of his very crooked house. All the illustrations show energy with leaves floating, pigs running and the scraggy wolf puckering up his lips and letting loose with his huffs and puffs. Even pre-readers will enjoy telling this story.

Highly Recommended.

Barbara Taylor is an early childhood educator and freelance writer living in Calgary, AB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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