Around the time Mark Teague visited the Twin Cities on his promo tour for, The Three Little Pigs and The Somewhat Bad Wolf, we checked the book out from the library. The best part of Mark Teague’s books are the illustrations. The are big, bright, and engaging. The pictures alone will draw in your younger audience. The story is a slightly goofy version of the fairy tale, with enough grown up jokes speckled throughout the pages to keep adults amused.
Some people do not like modern retellings of fairy tales that smooth away the rough (scary or violent) edges of the classic tale. If that’s you, you wouldn’t like this book. The Big Bad Wolf is only Somewhat Bad in this retelling and, in an ending reminiscent of a Raggedy Ann Tale, the pigs win him over with niceness and everyone agrees to live together in harmony. I think this retelling is okay. After all, if you want to be true to the classic tale, two of the three pigs get eaten and then the wolf is eaten by the third pig.
This book definitely passes my read over and over and over again test. The story is a simple, classic favorite. There is something about tales like this that read a little like a song. The reader keeps coming back to the same refrain. It makes a more enjoyable read for the reader and for the small child. The grown up jokes that he tosses in are just enough to make it amusing but not overwhelming. The illustrations really are the cream.
Where to find The Three Little Pigs and The Somewhat Bad Wolf
If you are interested in adding this book to your permanent collection, you can pick it up at most bookstores. The book is $16.99. It is also available through Hennepin County Library — where they will store it for you for free when you are done with it.