The Three Pigs – 2002 Caldecott Medal Book

The Three Pigs by David Wiesner , the 2002 Caldecott Medal Book, begins as a retelling of the well-known children’s story about three pigs and a big, bad wolf, but takes a very surprising turn as the wolf blows so hard that the first little pig falls right out of his storybook.  Quickly this pig invites his brothers to join him on his escape and they play with the pages of their book by folding them to avoid the wolf and making a paper airplane to fly.  They accidentally join the nursery rhyme world in “Hey Diddle Diddle,” but escape again to peruse the pages of other stories.  They briefly go into a book about a knight and dragon, leaving with the dragon in hot pursuit.  They find their original story and decide to return to the third pig’s home with the dragon in tow.  As the wolf comes to call he is, of course, very intimidated by the dragon and leaves, allowing them to all live happily ever after.  Although this book is hilarious, it requires a lot of jumping around and understanding stories from a higher level of thought, so this book is probably not appropriate until at least the later preschool years.

Caldecott Criteria:

1. “Excellence of execution in the artistic technique employed.”  This book is full of very creative, colorful artwork with amazing details and shadowing.

2. “Excellence of pictorial interpretation of story, theme, or concept.” – The pictures are what make this book understandable. 

3. “Appropriateness of style of illustration to the story, theme or concept.” – Although the little pigs are not illustrated as I would usually envision them, they fit well with this alternate telling of the story.

4. “Delineation of plot, theme, characters, setting, mood or information through the pictures.” – Again, without the pictures, the plot and settings would be completely lost.  The characters are very clear and I love their various facial expressions.

5. “Excellence of presentation in recognition of a child audience.” – I read this book to my children several months ago and enjoyed it myself, but they did not “get it.”  When I read it to them today I could tell that my oldest daughter understood the sequence of events now and really enjoyed this story.

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Filed under Caldecott Medal Winners, Recommended Reads

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