Five little piggies watch out for the wolf…but not for the reason readers might expect.
Piggle, the first pig, sets out for the store to buy the ingredients for a cake. Piggleton, the next little piggy, stays home to wrap boxes and blow up balloons. Wolf is spotted outside, and the pigs inside quickly close the blinds. Third piggy Piggit hastens through the woods delivering invitations. Owl warns that Wolf has passed by recently. Piggums, the fourth little piggy, keeps lookout from the roof, and the smallest, Pigbert, cries: “Wee wee wee! Everybody hide!” Wolf arrives, and, as readers will have surely surmised, the pigs and other animals gathered within shout, “SURPRISE!” It’s Wolf’s birthday. The huffing and puffing is all aimed at candles. Rissi’s conceit will be guessed by all but the youngest listeners long before the reveal. Santoso’s colorful, soft-edged cartoon illustrations are pleasing if compositionally busy. The slightly muted palette depicts five expressive piggies who look far more distinct than their confusingly similar names would indicate. Both the baroque names and sophisticated compositions go to war with the transparency of the plot, making it hard for this book to reach its most natural audience of older toddlers just graduated from nursery rhymes.
Readers’ satisfaction at spotting Wolf here and there and guessing the twist might enhance the first read, but that may not be enough to have them demanding rereads. (Picture book. 2-4)