Book Review: THE TRUE STORY OF THE 3 LITTLE PIGS – written by Jon Scieszka and illustrated by Lane Smith


Scieszka, Jon. 1989. THE TRUE STORY OF THE 3 LITTLE PIGS. Ill. by Lane Smith. New York: Viking Penguin. ISBN 0-670-82759-2

Do you know the classic tale of the Three Little Pigs? Jon Scieszka’s retelling of this common story, THE TRUE STORY OF THE 3 LITTLE PIGS, confirms that everything you know about the shocking events of that fateful day are wrong.  This book is tells the “true” tragic story of the three little pigs from the perpetrator’s (AKA- The Big Bad Wolf) point of view.   The misjudged and innocent Big Bad Wolf was framed!

This retold traditional tale is listed as #35 in the School Library Journal’s top 100 picture books of all time (Bird 2012). Younger children will enjoy this well written and illustrated picture book, however, it will be “less meaningful if they do not understand what is being parodied” (Vardell 2008, 85-86).   Kirkus Review mentions that middle grade children will easily understand this twisted tale’s lesson regarding the “unreliability of witnesses” (Kirkus Review 1989).  Older children will understand that the, “second view of the same events may yield a story that is entirely different from another but equally ‘true’” (Kirkus Review 1989).

Publisher’s Weekly remarked that the book’s “imaginative watercolors eschew realism, further updating the tale” (Publishers Weekly 1996).  The illustrations in this book compliment the text and visually assist in the telling of this narrative.  For instance, the wolf is drawn with an innocent and trusting expression while the small glances of the pigs’ faces illustrate an angry and fearsome demeanor.


Enrichment Activities:

There are many freely-accessible and pre-planned extension activities created to incorporate this book into a lesson plan or story-time.   Scholastic has many of these activities listed on their website at: This book is could also be used as a tool to teach children about point-of-view.  This could be accomplished by asking the children to write the story of Three Little Pigs from yet another character’s point of view. Bright Hub Education has a wonderful THE TRUE STORY OF THE 3 LITTLE PIGS lesson plan based around the concept of point-of-view (

A teacher could also guide children  in acting out their own dramatic theatrical production of this story.  Here is an example of a theatrical production of THE TRUE STORY OF THE 3 LITTLE PIGS produced by the Dallas Children’s Theater:

What to Read Next:

Scieszka, Jon. 1992. THE STINKY CHEESE MAN AND OTHER FAIRLY STUPID TALES. Ill. by Lane Smith. New York: Viking Penguin. ISBN 978-0670844876

Shaskan, Trisha Speed.  2011. SERIOUSLY, CINDERELLA IS SO ANNOYING!: THE STORY OF CINDERELLA AS TOLD BY THE WICKED STEPMOTHER (THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STORY). Ill. by Gerald Guerlais. Mankato, Minn.:  Picture Window Books. ISBN 9781404870482


Bird, Elizabeth. 2012. “Top 100 Picture Books #35: THE TRUE STORY OF THE 3 LITTLE PIGS by Jon Scieszka, illustrated by Lane Smith.” School Library Journal. June 1. Accessed Febuary 21, 2014.

Kirkus Review. 1989. “THE TRUE STORY OF THE 3 LITTLE PIGS.” August 15. Accessed Febuary 9, 2014.

Publishers Weekly. 1996. “THE TRUE STORY OF THE 3 LITTLE PIGS.” March 4. Accessed February 2014, 2014.

Vardell, Sylvia M. 2008. Children’s Literatue in Action: A Librarian’s Guide. Westport, CT: Libraies Unlimited.

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