The True Story of the Three Little Pigs

True Story of the 3 Little Pigs - cover

The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs

text by Jon Scieszka

illustrations by Lane Smith

New York: Viking Penguin, 1989

28 pp.

Age: 6+

Interests: twisted fairy tales, crime and punishment, wolves

Next: The Three Pigs by David Wiesner (another weird take on the story); The Adventures of the Dish and the Spoon by Mini Grey (a modern rewrite of a nursery rhyme with lots of crime and violence)

Also by this author and illustrator: The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales; Squids Will Be Squids; Math Curse; Science Verse



My Old Year – My New Year

English: QWERTY keyboard, on 2007 Sony Vaio la...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Some people go to the gym when a new year begins. Me, I unleash a flurry of daily blog posts!

The last eight months have been quite the crazy time… May for household disruption, June for packing madness, July for driving across Canada, August for unwinding and house hunting, September for paperwork and having a book published (visit for details), October for moving into our new house, November for unpacking, and December for… well, December is just always crazy, isn’t it?

(I have another blog that deals with these events – something I call Toronto to Saltspring.)

Stress levels are finally subsiding, and we are truly enjoying our new rural island life. As I get back into gear I have many projects on the go, but I’m still committed to this blog and swear to you that I will be posting more often!

If you take a look at my Lists (above) you will see the basic bones of my reading list – I’ve been working my way through the Caldecott Medal winners (finished), and Greenaway Medal winners (nearly done), and now I’m turning my attention from picture books to older chapter books, with the Carnegie Medal and Newbery Medal winners.

For my movie reviews, I will continue to look at vintage Disney, as well as any other deserving films. In both books and movies I am most interested in the oldies, the classics, which can be so easily lost and forgotten in the constant deluge of the new, loud and novel. I will continue to unearth the old classics and hold them up to the light of day, for the good of parents and children everywhere.

That is my plan, anyway.

That is all.

(Happy New Year everyone! Best wishes for 2013!)

Fireworks #1

(Photo credit: Camera Slayer)

Swallows and Amazons, Pigeon Post

Cover of "Swallows and Amazons"photo of Jonathan Cape edition of Arthur Ranso...

Swallows and Amazons

by Arthur Ransome

London: Jonathan Cape, 1930

363 pp.

Pigeon Post


by Arthur Ransome

London: Jonathan Cape, 1936

433 pp.

Age: (read to) 6+, (read independently) 9+

Interests: boats, sailing, camping, adventures, summer vacation, maps, exploring


Polish Children’s Book Illustrations

On the blog 50 Watts, check out 3 marvellous collections of vintage illustrations:

from the 1950s,

from the 1960s,

and from the 1970s.

Gorgeous stuff. (Warning, once you visit this site, you may never leave! An incredible image archive.)

Illus. by Jan Marcin Szancer for Gulliver's Travels, 1958From the collection of Hipopotam

Illus. by Jan Marcin Szancer for Gulliver’s Travels, 1958
From the collection of Hipopotam

Illus. by Zdzisław Witwicki for Z przygód krasnala Hałabały, 1960From the collection of Hipopotam

Illus. by Zdzisław Witwicki for Z przygód krasnala Hałabały, 1960
From the collection of Hipopotam

Illus. by Maria Szymańska for Dar Królowej Róż, 1971From the collection of Hipopotam

Illus. by Maria Szymańska for Dar Królowej Róż, 1971
From the collection of Hipopotam

Death in Children’s Books

Here’s a great essay from the Random House website Hazlitt – Life and Death in Children’s Books by Jowita Bydlowska. I like her point “what’s better than books to ruin a child’s innocence?”

I’m also more than a little smitten with the 18th century children’s book that would make your hair stand on end – Der Struwwelpeter. It’s particularly fascinating because children are much less horrified by it than their parents. (Generally. It’s still not for everyone, I hasten to add.)

Der Struwwelpeter: Die gar traurige Geschichte...

Der Struwwelpeter (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Oh Those Devices! Gentle Play Apps for the Very Young

I’m betting an awful lot of kids out there received some fancy gadget or another under the Christmas tree. If you’re looking for suggestions about what apps to put on them, Commonsense Media has posted this helpful list of educational apps, listed by device (iPad, iPhone, Android Tablet, Android Phone, Kindle Fire) and then by age.

In our house we’re marking our first anniversary of iPhone / iPad fun. We’ve done a few of the blockbuster competitive games – the ones that focus on working ever upward in difficulty, unlocking new levels, earning points or virtual cash, and always trying for a new high score – but I’ve never been too keen on games that are designed to get you addictively playing them for hours on end. I love the more calming apps, ones that don’t score, don’t have a timer clicking down, and don’t whip kids into a frenzy at bedtime. (or ever)

My favourite discoveries of the past year have been the non-competitive, more creative apps. Here are a few of the ones we have enjoyed… (iPhone/iPad apps)

Toca Hair Salon (Toca Boca)

Toca Hair Salon

Mick (Toca Tailor Fairy Tales)

Toca Tailor Fairy Tales

TOCA BOCA games!

There are lots of them, and they are all way cool. The design is unusual, the characters are funny and appealing, the activities are creative, gentle and non-competitive. (What a nice break from the majority of game apps!)

Some Toca Boca apps, like House, Store, and Tea Party, are designed for preschoolers, with age appropriate activities – simply moving items back and forth to accomplish simple tasks. I particularly like the House one, because it’s all about housecleaning!

Kitchen (Toca House by Toca Boca)

Toca House

Toca Robot Lab (Toca Boca)

Toca Robot Lab

The Hair Salon, Tailor, Robot Lab, and others are aimed at slightly older kids, maybe 5 – 8 year olds, but they are quirky enough to appeal to even older kids and simple enough to entrance the preschoolers as well. These are All-Ages Apps!

In our house Toca Hair Salon has been a particularly enduring favourite with my six-year-old, especially now since they’ve put out a new edition (Hair Salon 2). And I am particularly thankful to this app for diverting her from those dreadful beauty salon apps in which you put makeup on glassy-eyed, Barbie-like supermodels. Oorg.

Toca Tailor also deserves a special mention because it includes the intoxicating possibilities of taking a photograph of a fabric, texture, background, or person, and using it to create your clothing designs. (My daughter became entranced with taking a photo of the girl wearing a photo of herself wearing a photo of herself wearing a… )

(Check out Toca games here.)

My Playhome

My Playhome

This one is not a Toca game, but also great for preschoolers: My PlayHome – A simple playhouse where you move family members and objects around a house. Simple but compelling, and again, a gentle, stress-free app.

Future posts to come: art apps, music apps, math apps, science apps… I don’t presume to review every app out there, but whenever we come across a great one, I will certainly let you know!

Related RKOB Posts

The Land of Apps

More on Gadgetry

Websites and Apps for Kids – Recommendations

Next Newer Entries

All writings posted here are © Kim Thompson, unless otherwise indicated. For all artwork on this site, copyright is retained by the artist.