THE THREE LITTLE PIGS: An Old Story by Margot--Adapt. & Illus. Zemach

THE THREE LITTLE PIGS: An Old Story

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The subtitle here points up the jacket's assertion that Zemach's retelling has ""none of the softening or sweetening that has become commonplace with this story."" True: the outlines and most of the phrasing in Jacobs' quintessential version are intact. Unfortunately, however, where Zemach diverges from Jacobs she fails to improve his spare, pungent text. Her added phrases dilute impact, simplifications sacrifice specificity (no more ""Mr. Smith's home field"" or ""Merry Garden""), and modernizations jar (the ""momma pig"" weeps when she sends her young forth, warning them about the wolf; the wolf says ""Yumm-yum!"" when he eats the first two pigs). The butter churn has become a barrel. Wolf and third pig meet at mid-morning, not at dawn. No big deal, any of this, but ""if it ain't broke, why fix it?"" On the other hand, Zemach's illustrations catch the story's humor, her vigorous black line ably defining nuances of character, her soft watercolors subtly blended. Leslie Brooke's illustrations are still unsurpassed, but these are also satisfactory.

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 1988
ISBN: 0374477175
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux