Attempting to reverse the fortune of the three not-so-lucky little pigs of the classic fairytale, Rubin (Ralphie and the Swamp Baby ) offers up an easygoing porcine trio, cast as cool jazz musicians with an enthusiastic following. The text is as smooth as the main characters, the token wolf dubbed the "baddest cat" and the pigs referred to as Satch, Mo and Ella (a nod to the great Armstrong and Fitzgerald). Unlike the wolf in the original tale, this one must go to great lengths to get hold of these starlets--his initial plan to devour them onstage is foiled when he can't get a ticket to their show. Montijo's (Cloud Boy ) lively neon acrylics keep pace with action; some of the best feature fairytale cameos, as the wolf is shown offending Little Red Riding Hood with his "stinky breath" (a running gag throughout) or running off with a half-eaten Gingerbread Man. "What did you expect?" the wolf quips, "I'm a classic fairy-tale villain." Once the wolf finally gets his intended victims within reach, the self-assured piggies do the unthinkable by inviting him onstage--killing him with kindness, instead of a bubbling cauldron. The story ends on an upbeat note, as the newly formed quartet belts out a happy tune. Kids should get a kick out of this hip riff on an old standard. Ages 5-9. (May)[Page 62]. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
Gr 1-4-- Toe-tapping, claw-snapping, and bebopping replace the usual huffing and puffing in this jazzed-up version of the traditional folktale. Porcine siblings Ella, Satch, and Mo have formed a trio that is all the rage with their animal audiences. Their successful musical future is in jeopardy, however, when Wolfie, a self-described "classic fairy-tale villain," decides to exact retribution for his failure to capture their uncles in earlier days. Will the three swingin' pigs win over Wolfie with their sweet music? Fortunately for them, he's a bit of a ham and loves performing. Full of porker-inspired puns and clever repartee, this fast-paced tale has definite appeal. The colorful, cartoonlike acrylic illustrations are a perfect match for the zany, slightly over-the-top story line. Whether used as part of a unit on fractured fairy tales or read independently just for fun, this version will have its audience howling.--Maura Bresnahan, High Plain Elementary School, Andover, MA[Page 122]. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.