________________ CM . . . . Volume XX Number 36. . . .May 16, 2014


The Three Little Pigs and the New Neighbor. (Tadpoles: Fairytale Twists).

Andy Blackford. Illustrated by Tomislav Zlatic.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2014.
32 pp., pbk., hc., pdf & html, $8.95 (pbk.) $20.76 (RLB.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-0482-9 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-0447-8 (RLB.), ISBN 978-1-4271-7567-0 (pdf), ISBN 978-1-4271-7559-5 (html).

Kindergarten-grade 2 / Ages 5-7.

Review by John Dryden.

*** /4



The three little pigs laughed. Then they gave the wolf as much water as he could drink, and plenty more!


The Three Little Pigs and the New Neighbor is part of Crabtree Press’ “Tadpoles: Fairytale Twists” series. These books are intended to be interesting, engaging and humourous tales that can be compared to the original fairy tales.

     This tale begins with the three little pigs being shocked to see that a wolf has moved next door. After moving all day, the wolf prepares a tin of soup and spills pepper in his eye! He seeks help from his pig neighbours as his water is not yet hooked up. The first two pigs fail to help the wolf as they are too frightened and presume the worst. The wolf puts his knocking fist through the house of straw, and, for some reason, he climbs up the stick house to see if anyone is upstairs, but he falls through the sticks, thereby destroying house number two. The wolf is able to explain himself at the house of bricks, and the pigs laugh and help him out. All ends well.

internal art      Jon Scieszka has written a well-known version of this kind of twist. I bring it up, not really to compare the two, but only to indicate that Scieszka’s effort is a far more thorough effort. The Three Little Pigs and the New Neighbor should be considered on its own merits. This book is intended for ‘early fluent readers’ and it’s to be read aloud or shared with youngsters. This short book could be added to a twisted fairy-tale collection. As with other books in the “Tadpoles: Fairytale Twists” series, there are a couple of activities in the back of the book to assist parents/adults in helping readers in sequencing and inferring.

      The illustrations are clear and are quite charming. However, without some manipulation, the binding of the book did not allow me to see that the wolf’s water was not hooked up. The disconnected hose is visible by pressing hard on the crease near the centre of the spine. I did this in response to my son who wondered why the wolf needed water when his sink was clearly right there! The astute lad then picked up the fact that a hose is clearly visible in the illustration depicting the second house. Perhaps the wolf could have used this hose to rinse his eye out, but instead he chooses to scale the residence and break the roof!

      In addition to being a free reading book for a younger audience, The Three Little Pigs and the New Neighbor could also be used with older students in a ‘twisted’ fairy tale unit.


John Dryden is a teacher in BC’s Cowichan Valley.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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