cover image The Three Swingin’ Pigs

The Three Swingin’ Pigs

Vicky Rubin, , illus. by Rhode Montijo. . Holt, $16.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8050-7335-5

Attempting to reverse the fortune of the three not-so-lucky little pigs of the classic fairytale, Rubin (Ralphie and the Swamp Baby ) offers up an easygoing porcine trio, cast as cool jazz musicians with an enthusiastic following. The text is as smooth as the main characters, the token wolf dubbed the “baddest cat” and the pigs referred to as Satch, Mo and Ella (a nod to the great Armstrong and Fitzgerald). Unlike the wolf in the original tale, this one must go to great lengths to get hold of these starlets—his initial plan to devour them onstage is foiled when he can’t get a ticket to their show. Montijo’s (Cloud Boy ) lively neon acrylics keep pace with action; some of the best feature fairytale cameos, as the wolf is shown offending Little Red Riding Hood with his “stinky breath” (a running gag throughout) or running off with a half-eaten Gingerbread Man. “What did you expect?” the wolf quips, “I’m a classic fairy-tale villain.” Once the wolf finally gets his intended victims within reach, the self-assured piggies do the unthinkable by inviting him onstage—killing him with kindness, instead of a bubbling cauldron. The story ends on an upbeat note, as the newly formed quartet belts out a happy tune. Kids should get a kick out of this hip riff on an old standard. Ages 5-9. (May)