The Three Little Aliens and the Big Bad Robot



Out-of-this-world twist on timeless tale has dazzling art.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Kids get an exciting introduction to the solar system and outer space. On the endpapers, there is a labeled diagram of all the planets, whose colors illustrator Mark Fearing based on NASA photographs.

Positive messages

Working together is key in defeating the Big Bad Robot. And when your siblings are in trouble, you lend them a hand.

Positive role models

The third little alien, Nklxwcyz, shows a positive attitude and willingness to work as he builds his home on Neptune -- not out of bricks but out of found materials -- boulders, stardust, solar panels, and a telescope. He also warmly welcomes his siblings, Bork and Gork, to his home after the Big Bad Robot leaves them homeless.

Violence & scariness

The Big Bad Robot smashes and destroys the first two little aliens' homes: Bork's rover on Mars and his sister Gork's satellite on Saturn. The Big Bad Robot gets stuck when he tries to go down the chimney of the house of third little alien, Nklxwcyz, and explodes.

Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this science-fiction retelling of the classic "Three Little Pigs" tale pits three sibling aliens against the Big Bad Robot and provides a basic introduction to the planets and outer space. The robot's familiar yet updated refrain, "Then I'll crack and smack and whack your house down!" makes this as fun to read aloud as the original.

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What's the story?

Bork, Gork, and Nklxwcyz move out of their mama's home on Mercury to find new places to live in the solar system. Bork goes to Mars, his sister Gork goes to Saturn, but they all end up with brother Nklxwcyz on Neptune, hoping to escape the Big Bad Robot intent on destroying their homes. Thanks to Nklxwcyz's careful preparations and the three aliens working together, they defeat the Big Bad Robot.

Is it any good?


This strikingly illustrated book features three tiny green aliens, each with a distinctive, expressive look and personality -- and one giant, menacing Big Bad Robot, set against black, starry space. The robot pursues the aliens across the solar system, intent on destroying their homes with his swinging arms, ripping claws, and triple blaster. All that robot and space vehicle action should be a particular hit with boys and space-loving girls. The book also does a remarkable job of portraying the three little aliens' bold quest to find new places to live on other planets after they leave the security of home and their mom on Mercury.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how this futuristic version of the classic tale is different from the one featuring the three little pigs and the wolf. And how is it the same? Is the ability to set the story in any time period and place -- even in outer space with aliens and a robot -- part of what makes it a classic?

  • This story shows how careful preparation and hard work are essential in facing adversity and defeating rivals. Why is it important to have a plan and be ready for bad situations?

  • The little aliens stick together and help one another out. Do you take care of your brothers, sisters, and parents?

Book details

Author:Margaret McNamara
Illustrator:Mark Fearing
Genre:Fairy Tale
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Schwartz & Wade
Publication date:September 27, 2011
Number of pages:40
Publisher's recommended age(s):4 - 8
Read aloud:3 - 8
Read alone:6 - 8

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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