Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Written by Eugene Trivizas

Illustrated by Helen Oxenbury

(Heinemann Young Books, 1993)

My grandmother once shocked me by saying, “Nothing is silly. Silly is stupid.” No doubt she blurted that in a moment of exasperation as I stuffed pickles in my nose and tried to speak Duck. Still, her words have always troubled me. How could she miss out? After all, sometimes silly was uproariously funny. You just have to be in the right mindset.

And how I’d love to have been in Eugene Trivizas’s mind as he created The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig! If you are going to turn a fairly tale on its head, by all means, go all out. Mission accomplished. The title, of course, reveals the twist, but it’s the details that transform this story into its own cherished classic.

As the wolves venture into the world on their own, they stumble upon a kangaroo pushing a wheelbarrow full of bricks. Naturally! And how lucky! Everyone knows that kangaroos are only too happy to give away all that they cart around in their wheelbarrows. All one has to do is ask. (Politely, of course.)

The wolves are indeed sweet, civilized things. They play croquet and enjoy afternoon tea. How dare a dirty, rotten pig mess with them! Big pig huffs and puffs when he comes upon the wolves’ new home, a quaint brick abode on the edge of the forest. We know from the original fairy tale that huffing plus puffing does not equal a mound of bricks in the rubble. However, big pig, being despicable and cunning, returns with a sledgehammer to destroy the home and send the cute, furry wolves a-running with only their coveted teapot in paw. (Yes, these wolves, know what is important.)

I shan’t give away more of the plot, but I am willing to bet my grandmother would have tossed the book aside by the time she got to the part with the flamingo. Silly? Stupid? Ah, come on. It’s pure joy!

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