The Three Little Wolves and The Big Bad Pig


Bibliographic Information (best version for telling): 

Trivizas, Eugene. The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig.  New York: Scholastic, Inc., 1993.


Ethnic Origin:  English


Running Time: 8-9 minutes


Power Center(s):

·         “Bad”-ness of the Pig (sort of like a Hell’s Angel in my interpretation)

·         Sheer determination of the three wolves

·         The change of heart of the big bad pig




·         Three wolves

·         Wolves’ mother

·         Big bad pig

·         Kangaroo with bricks

·         Beaver with concrete

·         Rhinoceros with barbed wire, iron bars, armor plates, and heavy metal padlocks

·         Flamingo with flowers




·         Wolves with mother

·         The house of bricks

·         The house of concrete

·         The house of barbed wire, iron bars, armor plates, and heavy metal padlocks

·         The house of flowers




Three little wolves go out into the world to build houses of their own and have to deal with a big bad pig who doesn’t huff and puff houses down, but instead, knocks, smashes, and dynamites houses down.  As the wolves run out of the strongest building materials they can find, in desperation they try a fragile house of flowers.  The scent of the flowers melts the heart of the big bad pig and they all become friends.



Rhymes/Special Phrases/"Flavor":

“No, no, no.  By the hair on our chinny-chin-chins we will not let you in, not for all the tea leaves in our china teapot.”


“Then I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow your house down!”


“But the pig wasn’t called big and bad for nothing!”



Audience (why is this story appropriate for the audience? developmental characteristics?):


This story offers a great deal of repetition in its structure as well as its language.  This repetition fulfills a need according to Piaget’s “Preoperational” stage of development.  In this stage of development children are also assimilating new concepts into their existing framework.  I am assuming here that most children have already heard the story of the Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Wolf.  (I would be sure of the make-up of my audience before making this assumption.)  By turning the story around, the author is taking what the children already know and placing new ideas on the story’s original structure.  Children of this age can begin to change their way of thinking to allow for these new patterns.


According to Erikson’s “eight stages of man,” the preschool years of ages 3-6 are a time of developing a sense of ambition.  The three little wolves in this story show a remarkable sense of ambition and resolve in their quest to build a house in which they will feel safe from the big bad pig.


Lastly, the story is just plain fun. It is humorous to take something that we already know and change it to accommodate new ideas and technology.  I believe that some of the terms in the story - for instance, pneumatic drill - may not be readily known to the children, but the actions for them and the context in which they occur will be sufficient to their understanding. 



Bibliographic information on other versions/variants (at least two)


The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig is a fractured fairy tale of the British variant of “The Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Wolf.”



Marshall, James. The Three Little Pigs. New York: Dial Books for Young Readers, 1989.


Zemach, Margot. The Three Little Pigs: An Old Story.  New York: Michael di Capua Books, 1988.


Ziefert, Harriet.  The Three Little Pigs. New York: Puffin Books, 1995.


These books are all versions of the British variant.  In the Marshall book, there is more of an emphasis on the laziness of the first two pigs.  The men with the straw and the sticks try to tell the pigs that their materials are not suitable for building houses but the pigs ignore them and go the quickest route.  The Ziefert book does not go into the tricking of the wolf by the third little pig.  It is an “easy reader” book and simply jumps from the wolf not being able to blow down the house to jumping down the chimney into the pot of boiling water.  These are probably versions with which most children in the United States are familiar and thus, are the more traditional.



Hooks, William H. The Three Little Pigs and the Fox. New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., 1989.


In this Appalachian variant, the mama sow sends her three piglets out one at a time.  The focus is on the laziness and gluttony of the first two piglets.  They can’t get down the road enough to build a house of their own before their hunger demands they stop and eat.  While doing so, the fox catches them and carries them off.  The third pig is smarter and tricks the fox and thus gets away safely.  After building his house of rocks, the third pig tricks the fox again and is able to rescue his brothers.   The language of this story is reflective of the North Carolina mountain dialect.



Wiggin, Kate Douglas and Nora Archibald. “Three Ways to Build a House.”  In Tales of Laughter: A Third Fairy Book. Garden City: Doubleday, Page & Co., 1927.


In this German variant, the mother sow wants to build a house for each of her three baby pigs.  The three little pigs tell her what they want their house made of.  The first wants a house of mud because he’s lazy and wants to roll in the mud all day.  The fox scrapes a hole in this pig’s mud home and carries him off.  The second pig wants a house of cabbages because she is gluttonous and wants to eat all day.  The fox eats a hole through her house and carries her off.  The third pig is virtuous and wants a brick house.  The fox hurts his paws trying to scratch down this house and gives up.  The third pig then goes to market and buys a big kettle and when the fox sneaks up behind him, he jumps in the kettle and rolls home.  He puts the kettle of water on the fire and when the angry fox jumps down the chimney, he is scalded to death.  The third little pig rescues his brother and sister.  The brother and sister have learned their lesson, given up their sins of sloth and gluttony, and live with the third pig happily ever after.


The flavor of this story is more on the morality of the pigs.  The fox is not portrayed as essentially “bad.”  He’s just doing what foxes naturally do.



Asch, Frank. Ziggy Piggy and the Three Little Pigs. Buffalo, NY: Kids Can Press, Ltd., 1998.


This version of the English variant adds a twist.  There are four little pigs (including Ziggy).  The first three do the traditional thing, but Ziggy would rather go swimming.  We are lead to think that Ziggy will be punished for his laziness, but instead, Ziggy uses his cleverness to save the day.


Scieszka, Jon. The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs!. New York: Viking, 1989.


This version of the English variant takes the point of view of the wolf.  He feels he has been misrepresented in the traditional tale and retells the story making himself the victim of circumstances and the pigs rude, mean, and stupid.