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"Designed with uncommon flair," said PW, this "gaily newfangled version of the classic tale" takes sides with the villain. "Imaginative watercolours eschew realism, further updating the tale." A Spanish-language reprint will be issued simultaneously ($4.2, -055758-X). Ages 3-8.
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Multiple award-winning author Jon Scieszka grew up in Flint, Michigan, the second oldest and the nicest of six boys. Jon went to school at Culver Military Academy in Indiana where he was a Lieutenant; Albion College in Michigan where he studied to be a doctor; and Columbia University in New York, where he received an M.F.A. in fiction. He taught elementary school in New York for ten years in a variety of positions. He is the author of many boks for children including the New York Times Best Illustrated Book The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales (illustrated by Lane Smith), the Caldecott Honor book The True Story of the Three Little Pigs (illustrated by Lane Smith), and Math Curse (illustrated by Lane Smith). In addition to his work as an author, Jon also runs a web-based literacy program called "Guys Read" that is designed to encourage boys, particularly reluctant readers, to get involved with books. In 2008, Jon was named the country's first National Ambassador for Young People's Literature, a joint effort of the Library of Congress and the Children's Book Council. During his two-year role as Ambassador, he acted as a spokesperson for children's literature, speaking to groups of parents, teachers, and children to encourage the importance of reading. You can visit Jon online at www. jsworldwide.com. Lane Smith's illustrations have appeared in many publications including, The Atlantic Monthly, The New York Times Magazine, The Boston Globe, Sierra, American Bookseller, The Progressive, Time, Newsweek, Mother Jones, and Ms. He is the illustrator of James and the Giant Peach (by Roald Dahl), the New York Times Best Illustrated Book The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales (by Jon Scieszka), and the Caldecott Honor book The True Story of the Three Little Pigs (by Jon Scieszka). He is also the author/illustrator of It's a Book, John, Paul, George & Ben, and Grandpa Green. You can visit him online at www. lanesmithbooks.com.
Gr 1 Up--Victim for centuries of a bad press, Alexander (``You can call me Al'') T. Wolf steps forward at last to give his side of the story. Trying to borrow a cup of sugar to make a cake for his dear old Granny, Al calls on his neighbors--and can he help it if two of them built such shoddy houses? A couple of sneezes, a couple of dead pigs amidst the wreckage and, well, it would be shame to let those ham dinners spoil, wouldn't it? And when the pig in the brick house makes a nasty comment about Granny, isn't it only natural to get a little steamed? It's those reporters from the Daily Pig that made Al out to be Big and Bad, that caused him to be arrested and sent to the (wait for it) Pig Pen. ``I was framed,'' he concludes mournfully. Smith's dark tones and sometimes shadowy, indistinct shapes recall the distinctive illustrations he did for Merriam's Halloween ABC (Macmillan, 1987); the bespectacled wolf moves with a rather sinister bonelessness, and his juicy sneezes tear like thunderbolts through a dim, grainy world. It's the type of book that older kids (and adults) will find very funny.--John Peters, New York Public Library
In this gaily newfangled version of a classic tale, Scieszka and Smith ( Flying Jake ) argue in favor of the villain, transforming the story of the three little pigs into a playfully suspicious, rather arch account of innocence beleaguered. Quoth the wolf: ``I don't know how this whole Big Bad Wolf thing got started, but it's all wrong.'' According to his first-person testimony, the wolf went visiting the pigs in search of a neighborly cup of sugar; he implies that had the first two happened to build more durable homes and the third kept a civil tongue in his head, the wolf's helpless sneezes wouldn't have toppled them. As for his casual consumption of the pigs, the wolf defends it breezily (``It seemed like a shame to leave a perfectly good ham dinner lying there in the straw'') and claims cops and reporters ``framed'' him. Smith's highly imaginative watercolors eschew realism, further updating the tale, though some may find their urbane stylization and intentionally static quality mystifyingly adult. Designed with uncommon flair, this alternative fable is both fetching and glib. Ages 3-8. (Sept.)