The Three Pigs

The Three Pigs


Wiesner, David. 2001. THE THREE PIGS. New York: Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 0618007016.

Plot Summary

Turning the tables, this whimsical book tells the story from the pig’s perspective. The book begins with the wolf looking down on the first pig building his house out of straw, but when the wolf huffs and puffs the pig exclaims, “Hey! He blew me right out of the story!” Indeed the pig is shown with his two hind hooves still in the story and the rest of him hanging outside the illustrated page. Before we know it the second and third pigs have been blown off the page too, and the story takes on a whole new adventure.

With the pages of the story at their feet they decided to “explore this place.” One of the pages is transformed into a paper airplane and the three pigs take flight, zooming across stark white pages until they crash land. They jump in and out of a Mother Goose rhyme, and a dragon tale, extracting the cat and his fiddle, along with a thankful dragon who exclaims, “Many thanks for rescuing me, O brave and noble swine.” Eventually they discover the pig’s brick house and decide to go home. After reassembling the scattered pages, they literally rewrite the end of the story with the pigs and their new friends happily back on the page of their clever comical story.

Critical Analysis

The cover of this book shows a close up of three pigs with clear eyes, smiling faces, and crisp, clear detail, and the reader knows he is in for a delightful twist on a classic tale. With the turn of each page Wiesner surprises the reader, leaving them wondering what could possibly happen next. Cleverly combining artistic styles and different fonts to travel in and out of the various stories, this award-winning author shows that amazing things are possible, using humor and creativity throughout to tell this tale. While this story offers an ingenious new tale, it also relies on the theme of a traditional tale as the three pigs travel in and out of three stories before creating their own happy ending, overcoming the evil, if clueless wolf.

Review Excerpt(s)

SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL starred review: “Children will delight in the changing perspectives, the effect of the wolf’s folded-paper body, and the whole notion of the interrupted narrative. Witty dialogue and physical comedy abound in this inspired retelling of a familiar favorite.”

BOOKLIST starred review: “Wiesner has created a funny, wildly imaginative tale that encourages readers to leap beyond the familiar; to think critically about conventional stories and illustration, and perhaps, to flex their imaginations and create wonderfully subversive versions of their own stories.”


Caldecott Medal, 2002.

ALA Notable Children’s Book, 2002

School Library Journal Best Book of the Year, 2001

Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year, 2001


  • Use this book and The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka to introduce fractured fairy tales. Compare and contrast the two stories.
  • Have children write dialog for the pages where the pigs are flying.
  • Invite children to share ideas of what other characters could have been added to the story and what their impact would be.
  • Use this story to launch retelling other classic tales. Students can work in pairs to write and illustrate their rendition and then share them with the class.

Image from: Amazon


About libraryloverleslie

I love libraries and books, most especially those for children and young adults. I’m a Children’s Librarian in the Pacific the dream!
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