cover image The Three Little Pigs: An Architectural Tale

The Three Little Pigs: An Architectural Tale

Steven Guarnaccia, Abrams, $18.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8109-8941-2

Guarnaccia (Goldilocks and the Three Bears: A Tale Moderne) models the familiar piggy homebuilders on Frank Gehry, Philip Johnson, and Frank Lloyd Wright. The three leave their mother’s home—a bungalow styled after Charles and Henry Greene’s Gamble House—to design their own structures. The Gehry pig (not yet the Gehry who designs swooping, iridescent pavilions) builds a 1970s style “house of scraps” that a spiky-haired, leather-jacketed wolf gladly deconstructs. The Johnson pig, identifiable by his black-framed spectacles, creates a glass house that the punk wolf reduces to shards. The pigs run to their brother’s house of “stone and concrete,” a Fallingwater look-alike that the wolf cannot budge. (If the wolf went after the cantilevering system, this tale might end differently.) Of the trio, Guarnaccia favors Wright, and the puckish architect outwits the wolf on several occasions. He plays to design fans, decorating the pigs’ homes with objects by the likes of Noguchi and Starck, and his endpapers provide a visual index to the allusions. Without a background in “starchitects,” though, children will need a design history lesson to appreciate this retelling. Ages 4–up. (June)