The traditional story of “The Three Little Pigs” is recast with pug puppies instead of pigs and a malevolent, white cat in the role of the Big, Bad Wolf.
Digitally composed illustrations use photographs of the appealing pugs imposed on illustrated backgrounds, using a contemporary palette of pastel shades and effective use of white space. The Big, Bad Cat accessorizes with magenta 10-gallon hat and boots, and her outsized personality is conveyed both through her ferocious appearance and apt textual descriptions: “What a sight! Sharp, scratchy claws, a terrible twitching tail, and mean beady eyes.” The pugs, Bubbles (straw house), Bandit (stick house), and Beauty (brick house), set off to build their own homes, carrying backpacks of food that entrance the cat. She uses a hair dryer to blow down the straw house, a leaf blower to destroy the house built of sticks, and a huge fan and a jumbo jet to attack the sturdy brick house. The action concludes when the cat’s owner calls her home, followed by the surprise introduction of new additions to the cat’s family home—three familiar pug puppies. The book’s design includes speech balloons and display type integrated into the text for emphasis, as in the curlicue typeface chosen for the cat’s owner’s doting blandishments. The pugs are undeniably appealing with their worried facial expressions, and the cat is crafty and amusing rather than truly scary.
Children who are familiar with the traditional story will find this a fresh, funny alternative. (Picture book. 4-8)