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The Three Little Aliens and the Big Bad…

The Three Little Aliens and the Big Bad Robot

by Margaret McNamara

Other authors: Mark Fearing (Illustrator)

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Even though this books sells itself as a quirky variation of a well-known fairy tale, there is a great deal of technical vocabulary injected into the text. Following the traditional rhyme and rhythm of "The Three Little Pigs," readers follow the adventures of three little green siblings traveling throughout the solar system to find the ideal location for their new home all while avoiding a very clunky, very noisy, and very agitated robot. The book has many different layers of meaning built in to the story so that all people - from space enthusiasts to complete novices - will find something to enjoy. ( )
  lscappel | Dec 2, 2016 |
A brief summary:
Mama alien and her three little aliens live in snug house in a cozy crater on a tiny planet. As time passes, however, the snug house becomes too crowded and the three little aliens, Bork, Gork, and Nklxwcyz must leave to find a home of their own. Bork, Gork, and Nklxwcyz take off in search of a new planet to live on, but they must be careful as their mother warns them about a Big Bad Robot that only wants to chew them up! As they travel far and fast into the vast universe, Bork spots a space rover on a big planet that is swirling with dust. Although Nklxwcyz warns him that they must stay together, Bork decides to stay in the little rover on the big and dusty planet. Gork and Nklxwcyz travel on and soon after, Gork spots a planet that has giant golden rings around it. Once again, Nklxwcyz cautions Gork that he must choose another planet, but Gork decides to stay on the planet anyway. Nklxwcyz travels forward all by himself in search of a place to live. He discovers a blue planet with many moons and decides to build his house there. Nklxwcyz finds various things on the planet that he can use to construct a warm, safe, and sturdy home. Suddenly, the Big Bad Robot starts rumbling in the universe. First, the Big Bad Robot goes to the planet where Bork lives and chases her away to Gork's house. Unfortunately, Gork's house cannot handle the wrath of the Big Bad Robot and it shatters into pieces, leaving Bork and Gork on a speedy pursuit to find Nklxwcyz. Because of his careful planning, Nklxwcyz was ready for the arrival of his brother and sister and the Big Bad Robot. Nklxwcyz rushes his brother and sister inside while the Big Bad Robot tries to destroy his carefully constructed home. But alas! Nklxwcyz built a home that not even the Big Bad Robot could destroy! The Big Bad Robot makes a final attempt in entering Nklxwcyz's home by going down the chimney, but instead he gets stuck and bursts into a million pieces. The Big Bad Robot is defeated and the three little aliens are safe and sound!

My personal reaction:
This story is a cute take on the ever famous fairy tale of the Three Little Pigs. It provides the same message as the Three Little Pigs - that time and effort pay off in the end. While this may just be a simple retelling of a popular story, it does provide a refreshing, futuristic spin that is sure to appeal to young children. It should also be noted that the illustrator made an effort to research the planets in the solar system and to accurately portray them in this book. For example, the red planet with swirling dust that Bork decides to stay on is actually the planet Mars. Throughout their journey, the Three Little Aliens pass the planets in our solar system in the order of the planets' distance from the sun. I think this is a valuable aspect of this book as it could serve as a bridge into learning about the solar system.

A couple of uses:
- Have students take the story of the Three Little Pigs and make their own variation of the story. Have students develop the characters in their stories by not only using words, but also by using illustrations. Afterward, invite the students to share their stories with each other.
- As a class, discuss the importance of putting time and effort into the things that you do. Have students share times where they acted with haste and had to deal with the negative consequences afterward.

This picture book falls under the science fiction genre. The book features extraterrestrial life in the form of the three little aliens and their mother. It also features the Big Bad Robot, a being that does not have much back story but is very powerful and cabale of wreaking havoc in the little aliens' lives. I would not consider this to be a quality example of science fiction as it does not explore scientific fact or propose scientific possibilities. Instead, I would consider this book a creative and otherworldly take on the story of the Three Little Pigs.

hand-drawn and digitally rendered using collage techniques ( )
  Lucymae | Apr 13, 2016 |
This galactic twist on The Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Wolf is an entertaining and clever read of the classic folktale. As the three little aliens leave their mother’s home on Mercury, they set off exploring the solar system looking for a new place to call home, hopefully safe from the big bad robot whose robotic utterances are fun for little ones to imitate. The illustrations are created with various mediums, making each page full of texture and depth, emulating the vastness of the universe. In addition to the witty word choices amusing to both children and adults, McNamara successfully paired the great qualities of an engaging read aloud to the primary grades with realistic aspects of space, including the individual characteristics of each planet and the apparatuses found working beyond our atmosphere. This picture book easily translates to classroom units comparing and contrasting similar story lines. Although as noted in the author’s note it is not a science book, it provides an easy connection to many space themes as there are several factual pieces woven throughout the narrative and illustrations, with a comment to look at NASA’s website for more information. ( )
  alizastein | Oct 20, 2013 |
Children who enjoy the classic story of the Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Wolf will find this cosmic retelling of the tale irresistible. Recommended for children ages 4-8.

The text is vivid and clever. We see the Robot “chomping on comets and ripping open black holes.” Children will laugh at references to the original tale’s famous lines, such as, “Not by the slime on my chinny chin chin.”

The book showcases the concept of onomatopoeia with robotic sounds such as “Boink” and “Meep” in large, orange and red block letters. Children will delight in shouting these words with you as you read the story through to the comforting end.

The end papers clearly label the eight planets of Earth’s solar system in order. Each planet is featured in the story; shading and texture meticulously represent gases, valleys, mountains and rings. Illustrations aid children in imagining scientific tools such as satellites and space rovers. The Big Bad Robot is a feast for the eyes, with five angry eyes, giant claws, and rusty metal panels.

For children interested in science, the Author’s Note gives further details about the physical features of the planets. The note suggests NASA’s website for further information and photographs. ( )
  Rachel.Seltz | Sep 30, 2013 |
An entertaining interstellar take on the Three Little Pigs. ( )
  Sullywriter | Apr 3, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Margaret McNamaraprimary authorall editionscalculated
Fearing, MarkIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375866892, Hardcover)

GREEP BOINK MEEP! The three little aliens are happily settling into their new homes when the Big Bad Robot flies in to crack and smack and whack their houses down! A chase across the solar system follows in this out-of-this-world version of the classic Three Little Pigs tale. Margaret McNamara (How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin?) and Mark Fearing (The Book that Eats People) have created a humorous and visually stunning story that kids will adore—and that will introduce them to the planets and the solar system. The endpapers even include a labeled diagram of all the planets.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:00:35 -0400)

Three aliens set off to find a new planet for themselves but soon Bork and Gork have forgotten all of their mother's good advice and only Nklxwcyz builds a home safe enough to withstand the Big Bad Robot in this story reminiscent of "The Three Little Pigs."… (more)

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