AppLit Home Appalachian Animal Tales
Variants of "The Three Little Pigs"

Note: "The Three Little Pigs" is one of the most popular folktales and it has been retold in countless books.

For an annotated list of Appalachian tales, see The Three Little Pigs and the Fox. It includes notes on “The Big Old Sow and the Little Pigs,” oral tales collected by Richard Chase and by James Taylor Adams in 1940, reprinted with full text in AppLit. In some Appalachian retellings the smart pig is a girl.

Traditional Versions from Older Collections

Jacobs, Joseph. "The Three Little Pigs" in English Fairy Tales, 1890. Jacobs notes that the tale is probably related to the Grimms' "Wolf and Seven Little Kids," because kids, not pigs, have "hair on their chinny chin-chins" (Dover edition, 1967, p. 238). There are other interpretations of the hairy chins, however. The third pig, who tricks the wolf several times to escape, scalds the wolf and eats him. Reprinted online with annotations in Sur La Lune Fairy Tales. In this wonderful site Heidi Anne Heiner also lists an Ozark variant of the tale and many other retellings and spinoffs, with pictures of book covers.

"The Three Little Pigs" from Andrew Lang's The Green Fairy Book is reprinted online at Rick Walton, Children's Author:  Classic Tales and Fables. In this version Blacky rescues Browny and Whitey from a fox and all three live happily ever after at Blacky's house.

The Three Little Pigs. D. L. Ashliman at University of Pittsburgh (1999-2000) reprints tales of type 24: Jacobs' and Lang's versions from England, two Uncle Remus tales by Joel Chandler Harris, and "The Three Goslings" from Italy. The Italian tale is similar to the English versions, except that the two bad goslings won't share their homes with their sisters. The third gosling cuts open the wolf so her sisters can be saved. They ask her forgiveness and they all live happily ever after eating macaroni.

"The Three Hares." In Joanna Cole. Best-Loved Folktales of the World. New York: Anchor/Doubleday, 1982, pp. 497-99. Reprinted from Margery Kent, ed. Fairy Tales from Turkey, 1946. Very similar to "The Three Little Pigs," with a fox chasing and eating the first two little hares who make attractive homes from brush and in tree roots. The third pig realizes that his father's home was dark but he makes an even longer underground burrow where he is safe from foxes, dogs and hunters.

Modern Online Versions for Children

The Three Little Pigs. Fully illustrated with modern color images. This appears to be a reprint of a Ladybird "Easy Reading" book, but it's on a personal German site and I can't tell if any other source or permissions information is given.

Story Palace has an online version adapted from Joseph Jacobs, as well as many other tales.

The Three Little Pigs in The Colorful Story Book. A retelling of the traditional tale with a series of bright illustrations by Mary Ellsworth (reprinted from 1941 book by Saalfield Pub., attached to w8r web design studio site).

Contemporary Picture Book Retellings, Adaptations and Spin-Offs

This list includes retellings of the traditional tale, satiric spinoffs, and regional variations. Covers of many of these books are shown at Pathfinder, a public library site giving lists of children's books, variants of popular fairy tales with brief summaries and covers, as well as audiovisual references and links to related resources.

Alley, Zoë B. There's a Wolf at the Door. Illus. R W. Alley. New York: Roaring Brook Press, 2008. 34 pp. "As his plans are spoiled over and over again, the wolf keeps trying to find his dinner, in this retelling of five well-known stories and fables."

Amoss, Berthe. The Three Cajun Little Pigs. MTC Press, 1999. The reader moves an alligator, M'Sieur Cocdrie, through slits in the pages of the book. Background on Amoss at the de Grummond Children's Literature Collection, Univ. of Southern Mississippi Libraries.

Asch, Frank. Ziggy Pig and the Three Little Pigs. Kids Can Press, 1998. A fourth nonconformist pig goes to the beach while the others build houses. The wolf blows down the brick house and the pigs find shelter on Ziggy's driftwood raft.

Brett, Jan. The Three Little Dassies. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2010. "In this adaptation of the traditional folktale, three little dassies (also called rock hyraxes) build their houses in the Namib Desert of Southern Africa, hoping for protection from the eagle that lives atop a nearby mountain."

Brown, Carron. The Three Little Pigs and Little Red Riding Hood: Two Tales and Their Histories. New York: Alphabet Soup, 2010. 32 pp. "A retelling, accompanied by a brief history, of the two well-known tales."

Celsi, Teresa. The Fourth Little Pig. Illus. Doug Cushman. Ready Set Read Series. Austin, TX: Steck-Vaughn, 1990. The fourth pig is a "daring" girl who convinces her three brothers that it is pointless to hide inside all day in fright after the wolf blew down two of their houses. In frustration, she blows down the brick house and exposes the brothers to the outdoors, proving there is no wolf around. After this rather anticlimactic resolution, she sets off to explore the world. With an easy-to-read rhyming text.

Cousins, Lucy. Yummy: Eight Favorite Fairy Tales. Somerville, Mass: Candlewick Press, 2009. "A fresh look at eight classic stories, told with bold language and vibrant pictures."

Dahl, Roald. "The Three Little Pigs." Revolting Rhymes. New York: Puffin Books, 1982. Satire in verse of the traditional tale.

Dallimore, Paul. The Three Little Bush Pigs. Aussie Gems. Malvern, S. Australia: Omnibus Books, 2008. "In this new take on the old story, the three little bush pigs pit themselves against the mean old dingrel. One tried building a house of prickly pear, the next tries Weetabrix boxes, but it is the smart third little pig who builds a house that can withstand the dingrel's huffings and blowings. The mean old dingrel is finally taken care of by the garbos from Pillaga Shire Council, leaving the three little bush pigs safe in their shire-council approved dwelling."

Delessert, Etienne. Big and Bad. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2008. "In this variation on the classic tale of the three little pigs, two clever cats decide to rid their locale of a vicious wolf whose hunger threatens the entire planet, and enlist the help of assorted animals to build houses for the bait--three exquisitely pink pigs."

Galdone, Paul. The Three Little Pigs. Houghton Mifflin, 1987. A retelling for young children of Joseph Jacobs' tale. Admired for colorful pictures showing emotions of the characters.

Guarnaccia, Steven. The Three Little Pigs: An Architectural Tale, Retold and Illustrated by Steven Guarnaccia. New York: Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2010.

Harris, Trudy. 20 Hungry Piggies. Illus. Andrew N. Harris. Minneapolis: Millbrook Press, 2007. "The wolf from 'The Three Little Pigs' shows up at a party attended by lots of piggies, but his plans for dinner are disrupted by the pigs from 'This Little Piggy Went to Market.'"

Kaplan, Carol and Sandi Becker. Three Piggy Opera. Illus. Kathy Mitter. Players Press, 1989. Available with cassette and resource guide from Milliken Publishing. An amusing short play with music and a narrator. In spite of humorous warnings in the prologue song about the scary story, no one gets hurt in this version. Performed at Ferrum College by Teacher Education students and children, May 2, 2003. Photo and article in Exeter [NH] News-Letter, about annual first-grade performances at Stratham Memorial School, is just one of many online notices about school productions.

Kasza, Keiko. My Lucky Day. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 2003. "When a young pig knocks on a fox's door, the fox thinks dinner has arrived, but the pig has other plans."

Kellogg, Stephen. The Three Little Pigs. Morrow, 1997. Many humorous details are added to the traditional story.

Ketteman, Helen. The Three Little Gators. Illus. Will Terry. Morton Grove, Ill: Albert Whitman, 2009. "In this adaptation of the traditional folktale, three little gators each build their house in an east Texas swamp, hoping for protection from the Big-bottomed Boar."

Kimmel, Eric A. The Three Little Tamales. Illus. Valeria Docampo. New York: Marshall Cavendish Children, 2009. "In this variation of 'The Three Little Pigs' set in the Southwest, three little tamales escape from a restaurant before they can be eaten, and set up homes in the prairie, cornfield, and desert."

Laird, Donivee M. Three Little Hawaiian Pigs and the Magic Shark. Illus. Carol Jossem. Barnaby Books, 1990.

Laverde, Arlene. Alaska's Three Pigs. Illus. Minday Dwyer. Seattle: Sasquatch Books, 2000. A colorful, humorous regional spinoff, with a grizzly bear that goes in and out of hibernation as the villain. After enjoying Alaska sports, the pigs take shelter in a rickety old trapper's cabin, a house made of leaves, and an igloo. The bear is frozen in ice at the end. I don't know why a can of yams appears throughout the tale. Three-year-old Sam in Indiana loves this book.

Lowell, Susan. The Three Little Javelinas. Illus. Jim Harris. Rising Moon, 1998. An amusing variation on the tale combining animal fantasy, with Native American and Latino characters, and realistic details from the American Southwest natural environment. A coyote is the villain. The smartest javalina is a girl.

Moser, Barry. The Three Little Pigs. Boston: Little, Brown, 2001. A humorous retelling of the traditional tale with an expanded plot and some contemporary popular culture images. The first two pigs are eaten quickly before an extended battle of wits between the third pig and wolf.

Pichon, Liz. The Three Horrid Little Pigs. Wilton, Conn.: Tiger Tales, 2008. A humorous revision with a surprise ending.

Rubin, Vicky. The Three Swingin' Pigs. Illus. Rhode Montijo. New York: H. Holt, 2007. "This version of the traditional English tale depicts three musical pigs who try to win Wolfie over with their vivacious vocals and toe-tapping tunes."

Scieszka, Jon The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs. Illus. Lane Smith. New York: Scholastic, 1989. Alexander T. Wolf defends himself against the charge of murder, explaining that it was all a series of misunderstandings.

Sierra, Judy. Tell the Truth, B.B. Wolf. Illus. J.otto Seibold. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2010. "When Big Bad Wolf, who now lives at the Villain Villa Retirement Residence, is invited to tell his story at the library, he faces the truth about what he did to the three little pigs and decides to make amends."

Trivizas, Eugene. The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig. Illus. Helen Oxenbury. New York: Scholastic, 1993 A satirical retelling with clever modern details asks why pigs and wolves should be enemies. The first wolf house is brick, and the "big bad pig" has to use increasingly forceful methods of modern technology to destroy the stronger houses that the wolves build with the help of other animals. A house of flowers finally tempts the pig to be a friend.

Trumbauer, Lisa. The Three Little Pigs: The Graphic Novel. Illus. Aaron Blecha. Minneapolis: Stone Arch Books, 2009. 33 pp. "When their mother sends them packing, the Three Little Pigs are forced to build houses of their own. They better be sturdy and strong because the Big Bad Wolf is on the prowl, and he's ready to huff and puff his way inside. Will they survive against this hungry beast? Or will the pigs become his next tasty treat?"

Whatley, Bruce. Wait! No Paint! HarperCollins, 2001. An Australian artist combines photorealism and cartoon images as the artist in the book interferes with the progress of the story, spilling juice and changing colors on the pages. The traditional characters are like actors in a burlesque drama.

Zemach's Three Pigs coverWiesner, David. The Three Pigs. New York: Clarion, 2001. This winner of the 2002 Caldecott Medal is one of many postmodern adaptations of the tale. Wiesner uses white space and shifting visual styles to show the wolf blowing the pigs out of their traditional story into another fairy tale world in which a dragon helps them trick the wolf. David Wiesner pages by Kay Vandergrift.

Winter, Milo. The Three Little Pigs. 1938. Rpt. Seattle, WA: Green Tiger Press, 2008.

Zemach, Margot. The Three Little Pigs: An Old Story. Sunburst, 1991. Paw Prints, 2008.

Spinoffs for Older Readers

Fisher, Peggy. Three Pigs Construction Company. A humorous one-act dramatic adaptation written by a teacher at Benjamin Middle School, Franklin County, VA. The pigs are instructed by their father, a builder, on how to build strong houses. The conceited wolf succeeds in seducing each daughter pig in turn, but gets caught in the end. Performed at Ferrum College, directed by student Brooke Gill, April 2003.

"The Three Little Pigs," in James Finn Garner. Politically Correct Bedtime Stories. New York: Macmillan, 1994, pp. 9-12. Garner parodies late twentieth-century concepts and jargon in this tale of three pigs who live in harmony with their environment, building homes of indigenous materials. The wolf is a "carnivorous, imperialistic oppressor," leveling their houses so other wolves can build a banana plantation and a time-share condo resort complex. The tables are turned when the pigs violently drive out the wolves and set up "a model socialist democracy with . . . affordable housing for everyone," of course.

The Three Little Pigs. A poetic Vegan version, on an animal rights web site.

The Three Little Pigs and the Duct Tape by Virginia Jacksch, on a personal web page.

The Three Little Pigs of Hog Holler Swamp by Allison Cox. The Introduction explains how Cox wrote this "Story for Asthma and Allergy Education." In the deep South, Sniff, Snort and Wheeza leave home because their allergies are so bad. Activities for allergy education follow the tale.

References to Background and Study Guides

The Annotated Three Little Pigs. Sur La Lune Fairy Tales. In this site Heidi Anne Heiner  lists an Ozark variant of the tale and many other variants, spin-offs, illustrations, and references.

Lesson plan on The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Nancy Polette, 2001. Book by Jon Scieszka. Illus. Lane Smith. Viking, 1989. In Nancy Polette's Children's Literature Site.

Page created 8/29/02   |   Links checked 3/6/04   |   Top of Page   |   Last update 6/13/10


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