Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The three pigs

The three pigs

David Wiesner
Picture Book
For ages 5 and up
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2001   ISBN: 0618007016

A fictional picture book is supposed to be a place where the imagination is able to soar and expand.  In this title Caldecott medalist David Wiesner astonishes us with the direction he takes.

The story begins along familiar lines. The wolf visits the three pigs in their houses of straw, sticks, and bricks, calling out, “little pig, little pig, let me come in.” They reply, “not by the hair of my chinny chin chin!”

Then the script changes dramatically, for the pigs get smart. They jump out of the wolf's deadly jaws and into the abstract world of blank space just beyond the book pages. “Come on-it's safe out here,” says the first to the others, leaping out of the story to safety. We watch the pages flutter and fly as the pigs control their destiny. “We got away from that wolf for good,” says the second pig to the first. Not only do the three pigs escape with their lives, but in a paper airplane made of scary wolf pages, they go exploring. They find themselves in a surreal Xanadu of nursery rhymes, fairytales, and loose pages of unbound stories.

A five-time Caldecott author and illustrator, David Wiesner once again gives us something extraordinarily different. Weisner not only break all the rules for writing, but he also blends different artistic styles. Traditional watercolor evolves into a form photo-realism as the pigs find their power. This then softens to a candy colored nursery rhyme flatness, and then the art reverts again. Stretch your imagination for this book, and prepare to sit back and enjoy.