On the last few pages, the final words of the text break apart, sending letters drifting down into the illustrations to show...

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

Google Rating

  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • Caldecott Medal Winner

THE THREE PIGS

With this inventive retelling, Caldecott Medalist Wiesner (Tuesday, 1991) plays with literary conventions in a manner not seen since Scieszka’s The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales (1993).

The story begins with a traditional approach in both language and illustrations, but when the wolf huffs and puffs, he not only blows down the pigs’ wood and straw houses, but also blows the pigs right out of the story and into a parallel story structure. The three pigs (illustrated in their new world in a more three-dimensional style and with speech balloons) take off on a postmodern adventure via a paper airplane folded from the discarded pages of the traditional tale. They sail through several spreads of white space and crash-land in a surreal world of picture-book pages, where they befriend the cat from “Hey, Diddle Diddle” and a charming dragon that needs to escape with his cherished golden rose from a pursuing prince. The pigs, cat, and dragon pick up the pages of the original story and return to that flat, conventional world, concluding with a satisfying bowl of dragon-breath-broiled soup in their safe, sturdy brick house. The pigs have braved the new world and returned with their treasure: the cat for company and fiddle music, the dragon’s golden rose for beauty, and the dragon himself for warmth and protection from the wolf, who is glimpsed through the window, sitting powerlessly in the distance.

On the last few pages, the final words of the text break apart, sending letters drifting down into the illustrations to show us that once we have ventured out into the wider world, our stories never stay the same. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: April 23, 2001

ISBN: 978-0-618-00701-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2001

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Hee haw.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 32

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • IndieBound Bestseller

THE WONKY DONKEY

The print version of a knee-slapping cumulative ditty.

In the song, Smith meets a donkey on the road. It is three-legged, and so a “wonky donkey” that, on further examination, has but one eye and so is a “winky wonky donkey” with a taste for country music and therefore a “honky-tonky winky wonky donkey,” and so on to a final characterization as a “spunky hanky-panky cranky stinky-dinky lanky honky-tonky winky wonky donkey.” A free musical recording (of this version, anyway—the author’s website hints at an adults-only version of the song) is available from the publisher and elsewhere online. Even though the book has no included soundtrack, the sly, high-spirited, eye patch–sporting donkey that grins, winks, farts, and clumps its way through the song on a prosthetic metal hoof in Cowley’s informal watercolors supplies comical visual flourishes for the silly wordplay. Look for ready guffaws from young audiences, whether read or sung, though those attuned to disability stereotypes may find themselves wincing instead or as well.

Hee haw. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-545-26124-1

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 29, 2018

Did you like this book?

Energetic and earnest but not groundbreaking.

I'M NOT SCARED, YOU'RE SCARED

Unlikely friends Bear and Rabbit face fears together.

The anthropomorphic creatures set out on an adventure. Graphic-based illustrations give the book a Pixar movie feel, with a variety of page layouts that keep the story moving. Large blocks of black text are heavy on dialogue patterns as timid Bear and bold Rabbit encounter obstacles. Bear fears every one of them, from the stream to the mountain. He’ll do anything to avoid the objects of terror: taking a bus, a train, and even a helicopter. As Rabbit asks Bear if he’s frightened, Bear repeatedly responds, “I’m not scared, you’re scared!” and children will delight in the call-and-response opportunities. Adults may tire of the refrain, but attempts to keep everyone entertained are evident in asides about Bear's inability to brush food from his teeth (he’s too afraid to look at himself in the mirror) and Rabbit's superstrong ears (which do come in handy later). When Rabbit finds herself in danger after Bear defects on the adventure, Bear retraces the trip. Along the way, he notes that the stream wasn't as deep, nor the mountain as high, as he thought when he was scared. While picture-book shelves may not be screaming for another comedically sweet bear story, especially one that treads such familiar territory, many readers will appreciate this tale of overcoming fears. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Energetic and earnest but not groundbreaking. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: March 15, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-35237-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Flamingo Books

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2022

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more