text by Jon Scieszka
illustrations by Lane Smith
New York: Viking Penguin, 1989
Interests: twisted fairy tales, crime and punishment, wolves
Also by this author and illustrator: The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales; Squids Will Be Squids; Math Curse; Science Verse
The famous story is retold from Alexander T. Wolf’s perspective. You see, he wanted to bake a cake for his dear, sick granny, but he was out of sugar so went to borrow some from his neighbours the pigs. Unfortunately he has a bad cold, and their houses are just so flimsy… The Wolf accidentally sneezes the straw house down. As he surveys the destruction, he spots the first little pig, dead as a doornail.
“It seemed like a shame to leave a perfectly good ham dinner lying there in the straw. So I ate it up.”
The same thing happens with the stick house pig. The third pig calls the police and by the time the newspapers get through with the story, everyone thinks the wolf is Big, Bad and Guilty. He is shipped off to the Pig Penitentiary, but to this day he insists he was framed.
A very funny story with hilarious illustrations by Lane Smith. Mr. Wolf is depicted as bespectacled, well-mannered and timid – though he does give a spirited defense of the carnivorous diet:
“Hey, it’s not my fault wolves eat cute little animals like bunnies and sheep and pigs. That’s just the way we are. If cheeseburgers were cute, folks would probably think you were Big and Bad too.”
The Pigs, in comparison to the gentlemanly wolf, are rude and downright unneighbourly. Was Mr. Wolf unjustly framed? It’s up to the reader to decide.
Besides the comedic value, this story interestingly introduces the idea that there are two sides to every story, as well as the very modern lesson that you can’t believe everything you read in the newspaper!