This sweet little bare-bones version of “The Three Pigs” places readers in an active role.
The opening spread looks plain and ordinary: “First pig building a house,” says the text, as a pig builds a modest thatched hut. Black pen lines give shading and texture to pale watercolors, surrounded by calming white space. Soon the pig’s inside the hut, gazing happily out the window. But spread three brings an invitation. The left-hand page says, merely, “One wolf huffing and puffing,” and the book’s subtitle is the key here—for there’s no wolf to be seen. The right-hand page says “HUFF & PUFF” in lined block letters, and the ampersand’s lower circle is a cut-out hole. When the reader blows through the hole, the reward is a sad and perturbed pig with loose straw floating down through the air. The reader/wolf blew down the hut! The second pig suffers the same fate. Tradition prevails as the third house, made of brick, is too strong to succumb to air. Does the reader/wolf end up defeated? Nope—Rueda introduces a new result of blowing, one familiar to many toddlers and connected to gustatory joy all around.A good chance for youngsters to relish enacting the wicked role while still getting a (not particularly logical, but who cares) friendly reconciliation at the end. (Picture book. 1-3)