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Note - this review contains spoilers which I consider essential to the review, as this story may upset some small children.
We all know the story of the Three Little Pigs - at least we think we do. But up until now, it is only the pigs side of the story we have heard. Or more accurately, that of the one surviving pig. The Big Bad Wolf however, says we have it all wrong. He says he isn't big and bad at all. This is his side of the story. His name by the way is Alexander. Now Alexander, or Al for short, explains the whole thing was just one big misunderstanding, all he really wanted was to borrow a cup of sugar to make a birthday cake for his Granny. Now it was just his bad luck that he had a cold at the time, he wasn't huffing puffing to blow down the house, it was just a bad sneeze that over took him. Now it isn't his fault that someone was foolish enough to build a house of straw or sticks - or that he should accidentally sneeze and blow it down. But since the house were blown down, and the unfortunate occupants killed in the accident ( although he fails to explain how having straw fall on top of him could have killed the wee pig), well, it would just be a shame to let good food waste - so he did what anyone wold do - he ate the pigs! Of course this part may upset some children. It does not show a great deal of the dead pig, just it's bottom sticking up from a pile of rubble, but some children will not like that the pigs are killed and eaten.
My son finds this book funny, and he says the wolf tells lies. I think he has that one right! He enjoyed the book, but it is not a book he would ask to hear over and over. The illustrations are okay, but they are not brilliant. Brown seems to be by far the dominant colour, and I do think it leaves them a bit dull looking. I do think this book is too old for my youngest, who is 2, and in fact think it might be ideal for ages 6-10. It is fun though just to show the other side of the story. We spent a few evenings after reading this making up stories for other well known tales, but again, showing the bad guys side, or perhaps a sequel. Our favourite of these is one we made up of the 3 bears visiting Goldilocks which I plan to help my son make into a small book for himself this year for school work. I know many schools have used this book as well, both as a starting point for creative writing exercises, or for debates, allowing groups of children to take the parts of various storybook characters in a courtroom appearance to protest their innocence.
I am giving this book 5 stars because it suits my purposes quite well as far as providing a starting point for creative thinking, storytelling and writing. I can think of all sorts of ways we might use this for school projects over the next few years, and would certainly recommend this to teachers or home educators. I also do think it's a great idea to show another side of a well known story - even if it is obviously lies. But just as a story book, for the average family, I would give this 4 stars. It's okay. It is funny and a different twits of course. But it really is not likely to become a child's bedtime favourite, and it could have done with a bit more care in the illustrations.
Oh and on the thinking about things bit -- is the wolf really bad? Yes he eats the pigs, but then again so do all of us unless we are vegetarians - so maybe we're just as guilty as he is :)