The Three Little Pigs

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The Three Little Pigs

Feb 16, 2021, 2:47 pm

As I've done before, I intend a survey of the books, authors and illustrators of this classic tale.

My impetus this time is my granddaughter. It's her favorite story. But not in book form! We act it out, we two. Over and over and over and over and....

One day, my voice gave out (I'm the big bad you-know-who) and I hid the wolf for a few days to recover.
I have a respectable collection of farm animals in a wooden barn, as well as collections here and there of other species too. We do polar bears and brown bears and frogs and turtles, but until the pigs, T spent most time with a pack of dogs and a few cats. These are all dollhouse sized, from when daughters were small.

But I did find three pigs and we made houses for them of the appropriate materials and borrowed the Wolf from Red Riding Hood.
When I ask what the pig says responding to the Wolf's knock, T burbles out the right line and I can almost hear her little heart speeding up THUMP, THUMP, ready to race that little piggie to the next house. It is EXCITING! No pigs are harmed in this activity. They all live, unlike most of the traditional renditions.
I promise I will take pictures soon and share them. Meanwhile, here are some print versions of the story. I own a couple and have ordered a dozen from the library.

Edited: Feb 16, 2021, 3:03 pm

Let's start with plain vanilla.
M. J. York retells it for The Child's World publisher, and Laura Ferraro Close is the illustrator.

There is almost nothing to distinguish this version. It's not one I'd pick to use. The first two pigs get eaten and the Wolf gets boiled. Oh! Should I have hidden that with a spoiler? The third pig declares he hates turnips while holding a bunch behind his back.

Well, now touchstones aren't working. I'll correct later.

Edited: Feb 16, 2021, 3:26 pm

I'm avoiding Amazon and Ebay images, as they tend to disappear after a while.

Luckily, Barry Moser's book is cataloged separately on LT.

The graphic qualities here are better and more distinctive. But his pigs are kinda mean-looking and gross. Yes, the one on the left has a finger up his nose. And they do have chinny-chin-chin hairs. Yuck!
The Wolf stars visually. He is lank and hungry and determined. I can't find the double page where he is blowing so hard he lifts off the ground. Nice!

But here he is elsewhere:

And there are lovely subtle pictorial details - an empty jar of Bubba's No-Cook BBQ Sauce, for instance.
But the story itself holds no surprises. Two et pigs, one et Wolf.

Feb 16, 2021, 3:38 pm

The other one I have on hand is No Lie, Pigs (and their houses) Can Fly!

This poor innocent Wolf suffers from UBS, Uncontrolable Breathing Syndrome. And when he tries to make friends, the piggies disappear into a pot and a frying pan in the confusion of a UBS attack. But when Wolf goes down the chimney, his fur is all scalded off and he comes out as pink as a pig. The third pig gives him a blanket and shows him how to use the syndrome for good - kite flying, for instance. He moves in with Mort, the third pig, and everything in the house is tacked down.

Jessica Gunderson wrote and Cristian Bernardini illustrated this one in 2016.

Feb 18, 2021, 10:26 am

James Eugene Sutton illustrated the story in 1992 for Childcraft. It reminds me a lot of Disney images.

The story is very plain, no deaths, nothing at all to make it stand out. The pictures don't do anything for me either. The main thing I notice is the texture of the paper is mostly visible under the pastels or gouache.

Oh, and the human providers of the materials assist in building the houses, though that is not illustrated.
I don't like this one at all.

Edited: Feb 18, 2021, 10:35 am

Claire Evans has picked up the story and made it into a series.

The original tale is embedded in this one:

and one of the continuations is this one

where the wolf returns and is foiled again. There are more sequels, but I won't bother. Some things just aren't worth being published.

Feb 18, 2021, 1:17 pm

I own this antique reproduction:

Of course it's the original story. No idea who the illustrator is, though Anne Anderson is credited with something very similar.

I do like old illustrations, and these do please, but I'm not sure I can even point out anything particular.

Feb 18, 2021, 8:05 pm

The Three Little Pigs: An Architectural Tale is not for children. It's a lame attempt to use the multiple builds to introduce modern architecture. But there isn't any explanation or clear connections. The only clue to be found is on the end papers which identify the buildings and other modern designer furnishings in the pictures.

So, the fragile buildings are the Gehry House and Phillip Johnson's Glass House. The sturdy house is Fallingwater.

The Wolf is the only cool element. I'm not finding a full sized image, but this spread shows his best pose, which is also his first entrance. He's a biker, too, motorcycle.

Feb 19, 2021, 4:22 pm

The Three Pigs by David Wiesner is a lot of fun; but he twists the story so it might not be the best choice for reading to a child who is fond of the original.

Feb 19, 2021, 5:22 pm

>9 merrystar: I’m so glad you’ve joined me here.

Yes I do have Weisner’s book and love it. Will survey it later here. But won’t confuse Theia with it for at least a few years. She’ll need exposed to the other tales that rub up in that one anyway. I’m already planning on Red Riding Hood and Goldilocks rec-creations soonish.

Edited: Feb 20, 2021, 1:11 pm

Today, I'll introduce two that are fairly run of the mill, but still please me visually.

Olivia Beckman's drawings are pleasant cartoons, and both pigs and wolf are depicted as brisk and bouncy.

And for once, one of the pigs is female. What a concept!
No pigs are harmed and the Wolf only suffers a burnt butt, and is found cooling it later in the pond. Nice drawing details.

Oh, and Saviour Pirotta is credited with the text, but that is insignificant.

Beckman didn't even have an author page, but I've remedied that. Looks like she's worked on a couple of interesting titles beyond fairy tales.

Feb 20, 2021, 1:41 pm

I'm glad to be introduced to Marie-Louise Gay's work.

This is the traditional story but she offers upbeat visuals. Her pigs trot around with grins and huge snouts. Her Wolf is admirably wicked.

and fun to encounter in all his expressions.

Edited: Feb 22, 2021, 11:37 am

Eugene Trivizas wasn't the first to turn the story around, but his partnership with Helen Oxenbury, in 1989, produced a very successful The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig.

(I see the same efforts done by two other authors, referencing "the big bad hungry pig" and "the big bad boar." Single copies on LT, so very little info found.)

the first line captures the turn around view of "three cuddly little wolves with soft fur and fluffy tails."

(finish later, got a call...)
Okay, I'm back. Neighbor needed a ride and a jump start.
I do these threads on my laptop, as I haven't succeeded adding images from my phone.

Anyway, these brother wolves cooperatively build their houses, and the first is of brick. The Pig's anger is never explained, but he comes with a sledgehammer. The handsome concrete house is destroyed with a jackhammer. And the armored steel house (materials provided by a rhinoceros) is dynamited. Each time the wolves escape with only their teapot. I like that detail, because it's important. I know how they feel.
The fourth house is counter-intuitive, built of flowers and the Pig is swept into a tarantella from the scent ecstasy.

My favorite Pig drawing is his huffing and puffing:

Edited: Feb 22, 2021, 10:33 am

Alan Marks did a fairly straightforward picturebook of The Three Little Pigs in 1990, published by Neugebauer press - the text is bread and butter but nice watercolour illustrations.
And my fave version is Jon Scieszka in which the wolf was framed. The True Story Of The Three Little Pigs but (a) it's a bit meta for a tiny child and (b) you're bound to already have it. I find the illustrations for "True.." in the striking but ugly zone but the text is brilliant.

Feb 22, 2021, 10:32 am

>14 nessreader: *giggle*. Your touchstone doesn’t take us where you wanted to go.
Alan Marks

Do tell us more about his illustrations. I like the cover.

I intend to talk about Scieszka’s book next. One of my favorites too.

Feb 22, 2021, 10:38 am

Touchstones! *shakes fist at sky*

I used to specialise in childrens books in the 90s and I loved Alan Marks. He did a lush nursery rhyme collection. I can upload a couple of pics onto my member gallery if you like give me a few mins.

Feb 22, 2021, 10:40 am

You might try googling for images; that’s what I do often enough.

Feb 22, 2021, 11:26 am

Good idea. I read books off paper not an ereader for a reason; am pants at technology. Just been uploading deleting and trying again in my member gallery and pictures my phone shows upright have been swivelled 90 degrees right or left. I give up.
He has a website at
which had not seen.

Feb 23, 2021, 11:37 am

This is fun! My little granddaughter is 4 and we started reading fairy tales when she was here for an extended visit over the holidays.
I have several illustrated collections and single tales in picture books.

I have the classic version of the Three Little Pigs by Paul Galdone.
And there is also the retelling by James Marshall. The Three Little Pigs.

My favorite pig story in picture book form might be A Treeful of Pigs by Arnold Lobel.
Another good wolf story for younger kids is The Wolf's Chicken Stew by Keiko Kasza.

I'm a children's librarian who adores picture books!
Here's an interesting article from the NYT this week.

Feb 23, 2021, 11:54 am

>19 nrmay: Great article; thanks for sharing it!

Mar 7, 2021, 11:12 am

I collected a few more from the library.

Dara Goldman did pictures for Troll Books:

No pigs are harmed. But this is uninspired and unbelievable, with the wolf speaking nose to nose with the piggies.

Edited: Apr 22, 2021, 6:13 pm

Margot Zemach stays with the traditional version. But it too is slightly tired. The brick house construction page is nice. All the pigs have hairy chins, even mama. Zemach indicates action with multiple images of the wolf on the same page; not necessarily an understandable trope for very young readers.

Her wolf wears a tophat and coat with tails and carries a walking stick. The pigs are muddy and sloppy, though pleasant enough.

Mar 7, 2021, 11:30 am

Bernadette Watts, famous on the European continent, rates a large format book. Some of her scenes are very nice. The brick house at night, with light glowing from behind shutters, and a starry night sky, is pretty. There is all sort of detail inside and out to extend reader interest though none is story focused. The wolf leaves because he gets smoke in his eyes and all four pigs, mama included live happily ever after.
The wolf himself though seems deformed. Scrawny thing, with an exceptionally skinny snout. That drew my eye in a negative way, first time through.

Edited: Mar 7, 2021, 12:33 pm

I have two examples of the older versions of the tale, one a facsimile of a 1830 publication:

Pigweeney the Wise; or the History of a Wolf & Three Pigs

and the other a 1930s edition (reprint):

Three little pigs, and, The foolish pig

Mar 7, 2021, 12:49 pm

>24 LolaWalser:

Pigweeney by Alpenny:

by Frances Beem:

Mar 7, 2021, 1:01 pm

My last one for the day is Mark Teague's The Three Little Pigs and the Somewhat Bad Wolf. It's the best of my short pile today. It is funny. The Wolf comes to town and tries to eat at several restaurants. Two are closed, and the third prohibits wolves. He is bemused at his huffing abilities; which give the pigs time to escape. When his third attempt prostrates him, the pigs offer him snacks and dinner.

Mar 7, 2021, 1:11 pm

>25 2wonderY:

yes! It seems the older the book, the more likely it will go for a "realistic" style in pig.

Mar 9, 2021, 3:32 pm

I just rememberd The Three Little Javelinas by Susan Lowell

Mar 9, 2021, 4:13 pm

>28 nrmay: That’s remarkable. I just found it on my shelves!

Edited: Apr 22, 2021, 6:10 pm

I finally made it back to the library for a short pile of picture books.

Huff & Puff: Can You Blow Down the Houses of the Three Little Pigs? was not what I expected.

Because of the subtitle, I thought it might be a pop-up book. Instead, it is very minimalist and has a surprise ending. The first chapter in full:

"First pig building a house.
First pig inside the house.
One wolf (off stage) huffing and puffing.
First pig is not happy."

The surprise ending is that the wolf is blowing out birthday candles.

I like how the piggies are drawn, especially in profile, as the snout is surprisingly short.

Edited: Apr 22, 2021, 6:14 pm

Margot Zemach did a very traditional version.

I see I already reviewed this up in >, so Iwill use this space for another, in a bit.

Apr 22, 2021, 9:32 am

Joseph Jacobs has a long list of folk tale credits, and has two versions of this title on his page, but not the one illustrated in 2016, by Korean illustrator, De-yeon Kim, who is not represented on LT.

Rather than try to bring the Amazon image here, I will just give you a link to the page, and you can "look inside."

No guarantees, because the isbn references a different cover illustration here on LT.

The copyright info on this copy, also references a Korean author in between Jacobs and a translator back to English.

Anyway, all the pigs survive, and there are cute smaller animals that enliven the scene. The wolf wears a pull-over robe with hood, in fuschia.

Edited: Apr 22, 2021, 6:19 pm

Steven Kellogg's pig family are waffle makers, selling from a mobile contraption. Momma retires to the Gulf of Pasta and the boys take over the business and build their homes.

The wolf is one tough customer. Dressed in leather and biker boots, he demands items not on the menu.
Oddly, third pig's house features a skylight while being built, but it isn't there later.
It's a fun romp.

Edited: Apr 22, 2021, 10:01 am

Your images aren't showing. I'm guessing because you are using https but the images aren't https.

Apr 22, 2021, 1:05 pm

Oh. I took them from LT page without noticing they are all from Amazon. Grrr.

Apr 22, 2021, 6:21 pm

okay, I took some from goodreads. They should be stable.

Edited: Apr 24, 2021, 1:42 pm

I am really enjoying being reminded of all these great versions of The Three Little Pigs!

I have a wonderful cut-and-tell version that I have used with kids for years. It's from Celebrations: Read-Aloud Holiday and Theme Book Programs by Caroline Feller Bauer. This is a fine resource, but out-of-print and possibly hard to find. If anyone is interested I can share a copy of the story.

Apr 24, 2021, 4:18 pm

>37 nrmay: Yes, of course! Please do.

Apr 25, 2021, 3:07 pm

Illustrated directions for cut-and-tell 3 Little Pigs equal 4 pages.
If you want a copy, I'm happy to provide!
PM me your email or regular address and I will send.

It is really fun - huge hit with kids of all ages.
Requires a little prep. You fold and mark newspaper ahead of time.

May 18, 2021, 10:24 am

Jim Harris has done this story three times in variations.

The Three Little Javelinas was the first, back in 1992, and the most famous.

The javelinas are adorable! Big eyes, long snouts, and fancy western wear. Big brother has developed that prosperous mid-life bulge under his belt buckle and straining his shirt. Li'l sister is just the cutest thing in fringed skirt, cowboy boots and parasol. She's the one who built of adobe bricks.
The coyote is unimpressive.

With a different storyteller, he did Three Little Cajun Pigs in 2006.

It's very different, but still retains a whole lot of fun. It's told in creole, and the villain is a gator. Mama kicks them out; tired of cleaning up after them. Trosclair, Thibodeaux and Ulysse build away. Claude, the gator, wearing an old-fashioned one piece swimsuit and lounging in an innertube, goes after them with his formidable tail. Eventually, we are treated to a cut-away view of him stuck in the chimney. There is a silly little mouse on each page to make a seeking game with young readers.
The author, Mike Artell, reads the book on youtube. Go find it.

Sometime later, he does a more traditional version with his wife, Marian Harris. And I can't locate a copy to look at it.

May 18, 2021, 10:40 am

Cathy Morrison illustrates the traditional version with a lot of energy and again with cute mice accomplices.

The book isn't on LT, and I can only find an Amazon image, so here:,204,203,...

Her drawings use heavy lines, which get darker and more frantic as the terror builds. The wolf is suitably big and mean. I get the feeling she borrows some of Jim Harris mood techniques. One of her pigs is also a musician, playing the saxophone.
In the end, this version is just middling.

May 18, 2021, 10:45 am

I mistakenly ordered Bernadette Watts version again; but glad to re-visit it. See >23 2wonderY:

Her scenic and interior details are very nice.

Edited: May 20, 2021, 4:09 pm

How about the wonderful Wait! No Paint! by Bruce Whatley.
Creative and clever retelling with the author wandering into the story. Funny!

May 20, 2021, 12:43 pm

>43 nrmay: Please, add pictures and comments. I’m out of synch with ordering and picking up titles from my old library system, so my hunting is greatly curtailed.

Jul 17, 2021, 6:27 am

>19 nrmay: I got a copy of Paul Galdone’s version.

It is the traditional story. Two things stand out. Galdone imbues the first two houses with some construction complexity. He is also playful with stacking bricks. The other thing is his wolf is truly ferocious, with wild eyes.

Jul 17, 2021, 6:47 am

Michael Hague's Read-to-Me Book of Fairy Tales contains our story, but I can’t find reproductions of the four illustrations. He has a wonderful portrait of the pigs. His wolf picture is very sedate, not at all fierce; unlike his wolf in the Red Riding Hood story.

Jul 18, 2021, 3:28 pm

Ivan Gantschev declared this to be a Balkan folktale and painted these adorable bunnies and their adversary, the Fox.

Their father had reminded them that only a burrow would protect them from foxes. Of course the first two are too lazy.
Gantschev’s paintings are so soft and pleasing.

Jul 18, 2021, 3:43 pm

Richard Johnson illustrated a flip-the-flap version.

The pigs are insignificant, except for the fact that they pay for the building materials. The wolf is the star, with his tiny bowler hat and monocle on a gold chain. He is sneaking about everywhere and frankly identifies himself as the big, bad wolf.
The humans with the straw and sticks and bricks are also very pleasantly portrayed.

Three Little Pigs

Jul 18, 2021, 6:31 pm

I just met a children’s book author/illustrator I want to explore more.
Emily Gravett. I see I already have one title. Her work is charming and creative.

Wolf Won’t Bite! won’t touchstone, but it’s on her page.

These pigs with the crazy snouts run a traveling circus. And the wolf features in all of the acts. Poor wolf! They take the performance one step too far. The strongman’s costume is so silly.

At the same library visit, I brought home her first book, Wolves. A rabbit borrows this book from West Bucks Public Burrowing Library and reads it while walking home. It takes a while for the rabbit to recognize who is following it.
There is a cliffhanger ending and then a disclaimer from the author and an alternative ending.

Edited: Aug 4, 2021, 9:25 am

Ha! Found a good one in my piles in the garage.

Frank Muir Retells The Three Little Pigs deserves more attention. It’s a creditable re-telling with interesting characters and a fun storyline.

Illustrations are by Graham Philpot. They are busy, but do a good job of furthering the story.

The piggies are named Hot, Cross, and Bun. Their mom sends them into the forest to do their rock band practice and they are awful. And loud! We meet a satisfying range of the forest inhabitants, primarily the very old B.B. Wolf.
Lots of fun!

And I remembered correctly that Philpot did a very endearing retelling of The Wind in the Willows.