The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig Hardcover – 14 Jan 1994
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From the Author
PIGS AND WOLVES- EXCLUSION EXCALAION AND STEREOTYPING
My book ''the three little wolves and the big bad pig'' is not just an irreverent play with a traditional theme. The story offers an alternative way of looking at certain important issues. Indeed it was my experience as a criminologist and criminal law specialist that prompted me to write the story.In the traditional story the wolf demolishes two houses made of straw and wood . Only when the little pigs build a third house made of brick, they are really safe. The big bad wolf is unable to blow it down and his desperate attempt to violate their sanctuary by entering through the chimney ends in his horrific death in a kettle of boiling water. What does this story tell us? What messages does it transmit to the contemporary reader? The first message conveyed by the original story is that if you want be secure you should retreat to and be surrounded by progressively stronger and stronger structures. The recommended policy is exclusion, isolation, distrust and prevention of communication. The problem with this attitude is that exclusion often leads to escalation. This has clear parallels not only in the arms race debate, but also in the area of criminal justice Each and every method of protection leads to corresponding ways of circumventing and neutralising it. Weapons are getting progressively more lethal and violence more dangerous. Exclusion is detrimental also for the potential victims. We have reached the point instead of imprisoning or imposing house arrest to the criminal , we do it for the victim. As Linda Phillips Ashour points out in the New York Times, in her review of the TLW - this is a reminder ''on how many of us live today with fear and 37 padlocks.'' Moreover by excluding, stigmatising and isolating we may reinforce or even create whatever danger we are afraid of. Isolation and segregation make illegal activities even more attractive for the offender. In my version of the story an alternative message is conveyed. The three little wolves erect first a solid brick house. The big bad pig comes along and when huffing and puffing fails to work, he uses a sledgehammer to bring the house down. Next the wolfs build a home of concrete: The pig demolishes it with his pneumatic drill. The three little wolves choose an even stronger design next time round: They erect a house, made of steel, , barbed wire armour plates and video entry system, but the pig blows it up with dynamite. It is only when the wolves construct a rather fragile house made of flowers, that the pig pauses to smell the lovely scent, has a change of heart, realises how horrible he has been, undergoes a radical transformation, and he becomes a big good pig. The wolves invite the pig inside the house and the story ends with a party with strawberries and wolfberies (the summary is composed of review extracts) Instead of confrontation, exclusion and destruction - this version of the story advocates communication, reintegration, inclusion and restoration of trust. The message is not only that beauty facilitates change, and sometimes tenderness may work better than toughness, but that by being open we may be able to win over our adversary. There is no denying that this way of responding to adversaries in certain circumstances is appropriate, in others inappropriate and certainly it has its risks and dangers, but so does the attitude recommended in the original story. The second message conveyed by the original tale is that there are clearly differentiated good and evil characters.In my reworking of the story, instead of the three little pigs and a big bad wolf, we have three cuddly little wolves and a nasty pig bad pig. That is not only a deliberate reversal of the bad press given to wolves but a reversal of good and evil characters in general. Wolves are not necessarily the embodiment of evil, nor always something to be loathed. Indeed it may be easier to make friends with a wolf than a pig. An educator Joyce Wakenshaw wrote to me from Switzerland , raising among others, the point that this role reversal is confusing.For generations The wolf has been used in children¹s stories to depict evil, something to be feared and what is wrong with that? If the child listens to the story in a safe environment he - she can come to terms with fear. Why not let the wolf represent all that is bad? Because I wanted to move away from good and evil characters to a distinction between good and evil acts. My story is indeed an attempt to overcome the stereotyping of good and bad. ''It is important as B.Thomson points out to teach ''children to consider acts rather than stereotypes. There are good and bad deeds no good and pad persons. Not all pigs are bad and not all wolves are good. There is good and bad in everyone. 'Stereotyping character rather than acts is sometimes dangerous because it excuses corruption, promotes persecution of minorities. and carries the risk of the so called ''self-fulfilling prophesy''. One of the difficulties of the present way of looking a things is that it establishes a false dichotomy not between good and evil but people who defined as good or bad .Children B. Thonson remarks have often far more to fear in their domestic setting than from outsiders. ''Many children have had to suffer abuse 'in silence because they were unable to convince anyone that their ³good² parents or other persons in positions of trust were abusing them - precisely because everyone believed in the good character stereotype.' If we treat people as representatives of stereotypes rather than as individuals, a relgious comentator remarked ''we are responding less to what the other person did and more to the image of the other person that is called upon by the name we have give him. This dichotomy further deepens the gulf between offender and society and makes it even more difficult to achieve the aim of bringing him back to the community''. A child told me the other day : Everybody knows why wolves are bad . Because they is eating pigs. - So do humans I answered. Are we also all bad?
About the Author
Helen Oxenbury grew up in Ipswich and worked on sets and scenery in theatre, film and TV, before she started illustrating children's books. She illustrated the Kate Greenaway Medal-winning Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, Smarties Book Prize-winning Farmer Duck by Martin Waddell and a number of board books for babies.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
As will probably be obvious from the title, it reverses the tale of the three little pigs and the big bad wolf. But where the big bad wolf was an arch loser who only managed to be dangerous because the first two pigs were silly, in this story the big bad pig is as smart as he is mean.
Probably the ideal time to introduce this to your children is when they have just started to get bored with or see the holes in the traditional versions of all the favourite stories - it would not be as funny to someone who did not know the story of the three little pigs.
Very strongly recommended.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great book in lovely condition and arrived very quickly. Many thanks.Published 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
Good spin on the original story but a bit long for my Reception classPublished 7 months ago by daisy