The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs



Delightful story is a surefire attention-grabber.

What parents need to know

Violence & scariness

It is mentioned that the wolf eats the pigs, though his eating takes place offstage.

Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the main character, Alexander T. Wolf, tells his version of the "Three Little Pigs" story from prison. (He's accused of killing and eating two of the three pigs.) The wolf presents his side of the story as the truth, but there's also the distinct possibility that he's lying. While adults will undoubtably draw larger lessons from this razor-sharp fairy tale parody, kids will probably just think it's funny.

Kids say

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What's the story?

Don't believe everything you read! In this, the wolf's cockamamie version of the "Three Little Pigs," he goes to the first pig to borrow a cup of sugar and sneezes hard--blowing the house down is just an accident. He eats the pigs--sure, because wasting food is wrong--in this rollicking send-up of the classic fairy tale.


Is it any good?


This send-up of the well-known story makes fun of the tendency to clean up classic fairy tales to suit modern tastes, and the book is a good introduction to the playfulness of parody. It also alludes to how a seemingly carefree laugh-along can coexist with deeper ideas. The wolf's wisecracking set off gales of laughter from a library full of 6-year-olds, but there's also a life lesson being taught: Namely, don't be so quick to judge behavior.

Writer Jon Scieszka and illustrator Lane Smith might well have been separated at birth, so perfectly do they fill any holes that may be missing from either text or artwork. Scieszka's verbal pizzazz, combined with Smith's expressionist paintings, leave no gaps to be filled.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how there can often be two -- or three, or four -- different sides to every story. Do you believe the wolf is innocent? Why or why not? When you're presented with multiple versions of "the truth," how are you supposed to know which version to believe? What role do newspapers (and other forms of media like television and the Internet) play in disseminating "the truth"? Is it safe to believe everything you read -- or can the truth be manipulated?

Book details

Author:Jon Scieszka
Illustrator:Lane Smith
Genre:Fairy Tale
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Penguin Group
Publication date:January 1, 1996
Number of pages:32
Publisher's recommended age(s):4 - 7

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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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What parents and kids say

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Parent of a 2 year old Written byMonica Jo October 13, 2010

Good For children of all ages...

Teaches children the concept that there are more than one side to every story. Each indivudal may have seen it another way.
What other families should know
Educational value
Adult Written bybbyro April 9, 2008
Adult Written bytommysportsgirl April 9, 2008

fun for everyone (even adults!)

I have loved this book for years. It's a page-turner that parents will enjoy too.


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