6 Modern Twists on Classic Fairytales: The Three Little Pigs

Classic fairy tales make for great childhood reading. They’re a fun way to help kiddos build a moral foundation, in a simple and easily digestible manner. They illustrate social rules and behaviors without getting pedantic. And they show the reasons behind these rules through the mechanics of good storytelling.

So why mess with a classic? Reading the original version of The Three Little Pigs does a perfectly good job of teaching kids to be industrious, right? . . . Do you really need multiple versions?

Well, yes and no. Reading the classic version does do the original job of laying down a moral foundation. But reading modern twists get children thinking about the art of storytelling. Children build comprehension skills, as well as critical ones like comparing and contrasting. Plus, more contemporary versions help children explore new and unfamiliar topics using a familiar framework as a springboard.

Check out some of our favorite modern versions of the classic fairytale, The Three Little Pigs, and explore new subject areas like architecture, expose little ones to multiculturalism, or simply enjoy a great story!

The Three Little Pigs: An Architectural Tale

By Steven Guarnaccia 

In this hip and artsy retelling, Guarnaccia offers a kid-friendly introduction to modern architecture. Each of the little pigs is a famous 20th-century architect with a signature dream house. Frank Gehry lives in the house made of scraps. Philip Johnson’s house is all glass. And Frank Lloyd Wright? Well, his super sturdy Fallingwater houses are all three safely away from the ultra-cool wolf riding a Phillippe Starck Voxan GTV 1200.

The book is stylishly illustrated with each house cleverly decorated with designer interiors. Plus, the endpapers offer fun games for anyone interested in exploring the subject a bit further. An excellent book to introduce your little ones to architecture within a good old familiar story!

The Three Little Javelinas

By Susan Lowell

Close to the classic version but with a multicultural twist, The Three Little Javelinas is set in the desert with wild, little southwestern piggies, the javelinas, taking the lead.

So naturally, the first industrious little javelina builds his home out of tumbleweeds. The second one, out of saguaro cactus ribs. And the third? Why, out of adobe.

The big, bad wolf is none other than a coyote, the desert trickster common in Southwestern and Native American tales. The change of scenery puts a fun spin on an old favorite and exposes your little one to a new culture, environment, and animal. The text is fast-paced and the illustrations lively. A favorite for sure!

The Three Ninja Pigs

By Corey Rosen Schwartz

This fractured fairytale places the three little pigs in a Japanese ninja school. Frustrated by the devastation caused by the big, bad wolf’s repeated bullying and inappropriate huffing and puffing technique, the sibling piggies have had enough! So they start to train in martial arts, as any good piggy would.

The first takes aikido but he never gets passed a white belt. The second pig goes for jujitsu. Unfortunately his hog-sized level of confidence gets in the way of practice. The third pig? Well, she opts for karate and sticks with it until she’s mastered the perfect pork chop. Sayonara, Mr. Wolf! Practice does make perfect after all and luckily, Pig One and Pig Two have an opportunity for improvement.

Clever rhymes, a strong female character, action-packed illustrations, and butt-kicking martial arts . . . who could ask for more?

The Three Pigs

By David Weisner 

This Caldecott-winning version begins just like any other: three little pigs with houses made of straw, sticks, and bricks. But when the wolf comes a-huffing and a-puffing, the story takes little ones on a cinematic adventure through a variety of classic children’s books.

Escaped from their own fairytale, the pigs change in color, shape, and style as they explore the other storybooks in the library. The cat and the fiddle join them, and so does a nearly-slain dragon.

Told entirely through illustrations, text excerpts, and a few speech bubbles, this is storytelling magic. In fact, it’s children’s metafiction at its finest!

The True Story of the Three Little Pigs

By Jon Scieszka 

There’s two sides to every story and this fractured fairy tale offers a fresh perspective on a tried a true classic. The wolf’s!

Hysterically funny, the story twists the traditional point of view with Alexander T. Wolf recounting his own incredible version of events: he was just trying to borrow some sugar. His allergies were acting up. Is it his fault the houses were of shabby construction? Would you just walk away from an irresistible ham dinner???

Kids will delight in the grown-up lesson in spin control (As if they need one! Think of the last time something precious was destroyed at home.) And the illustrations are top-notch. Cuddle up together and enjoy witnessing the fairytale world turned entirely on its head!

The Three Little Wolves and the Big, Bad Pig

By Eugene Trivizas 

Here’s a wolf-friendly version of the classic tale. An aggressively mean swine is bullying a trio of sweet, fluffy wolves who have to keep building newer and better structures to keep out the boar. They start off with a sturdy brick abode and move on to more sophisticated buildings that resemble fortresses with surveillance cameras.

But the pig manages to destroy them all. But not by huffing and puffing – he uses sledgehammers, pneumatic drills, dynamite, and other demolition devices. Fortunately, the wolves stumble onto a solution to make peace.

If you can deal with the violent aspect (may not be suitable for the littlest ones) – and suppress your own riotous giggles, then this book offers a fun twist with role-reversals.

What’s your favorite version of a good, old classic tale? Share with us!

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