cover image The Three Little Pigs

The Three Little Pigs

James Marshall. Dial Books, $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8037-0591-3

Readers who grin when they pick up this title can be forgiven for correctly anticipating amusing antics within, especially if they are familiar with Marshall's other half-fractured fairy tales (including Goldilocks and the Three Bears , a Caldecott Honor book). Deadpan as ever, Marshall begins this one in a traditional way: the old sow sends her piglets off into the big world. Despite the protests of the tradesmen who sell them materials, both the first and second pig construct their flimsy houses of straw and sticks. In short order, they are gobbled up by the wolf. The pig who invests in bricks, of course, does the gobbling when he encounters the wolf, after a merry mass of near misses that blithely build suspense. There are fairy tales, and there are Marshall's tales. Readers can also be forgiven for preferring his over all the rest. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)