This familiar story arc quickly veers off the path of well-traveled tradition due to cumbersome design.
Three little pigs (Mama nowhere to be seen) build their homes though a wolf encroaches on their territory. An interactive spinning wheel offers a variety of textual and visual options to insert into the narrative’s literally empty spaces. While choices vary creatively (the pigs could choose boiling water to frighten the wolf or ice cream, candy or fish instead), the reiteration of the correct answer on the following page disrupts fluidity. Children determined to make the first house out of doughnuts will find that it is a straw house despite their efforts when they turn the page, for instance. Light cartoon sketches with off-balance movements and crossed-eyed expressions exude a comical wackiness. The wolf’s forbidding mien evaporates in lieu of quirky behaviors; he goofily dons a flowered hat or plays the fiddle on the roof (ha-ha). Frustratingly, the flimsy, thin-edged wheel, essential to moving the story along, is awkward to rotate.
A poor choice for those anxious to manipulate their world; this Mad Libs–esque version of a staple deserves both a sturdier, more fluid structure and an older audience. (Board book. 3-4)