In a seeming role reversal from the original fairy tale, three little pigs capture a big, toothy wolf and put him on display in their very own circus where, no matter what they do, “wolf won’t bite!”
Sure of their safety despite their antics, the three little pigs (dressed in a strongman leotard, ringmaster suit, and frilly tutu) continue to up the ante in their circus acts, rejoicing in the knowledge that they are safe no matter what. Kids will delight in going from one page to the next as the pigs lift Wolf in the air, make him jump through hoops, and even shoot him from a cannon. While the pigs twirl in excitement, safe and sound, wolf looks confused at his predicament, and kids will laugh at the ridiculous pictures and, in a twist from the original story, perhaps even feel sorry for the poor wolf as he’s dressed up and put on display. In the end, predictably, wolf is tested to his limit and the three little pigs… Well, let’s just say things don’t go according to plan!
Author and illustrator of multiple popular children’s picture books (Orange Pear Apple Bear, Dogs, and The Odd Egg), Gravett stays true to her artistic style in this, her newest project. Even the end papers follow the flow of the story, a nice touch to complete this simple but fun book.
The detail is all in the characters. Clean white backgrounds focus the reader’s attention on the animals’ expressive and exuberant faces along with their silly costumes. Gravett has done a wonderful job with her illustrations, bringing this spare story to vivid life. Kids will love the creative antics and predicaments of the pigs and wolf alike, and the repetitive nature of the narrative–“Wolf won’t bite!”–makes it a great choice for a shared read-aloud. Simple phrasing and word choice makes it more suitable for younger kids, but as a “grown up” kid myself, I couldn’t help but fall in love with the illustrations!
Copyright March 2012
Images from www.emilygravett.com and www.guardian.co.uk