Fractured fairy tales are interesting. There’s a familiar underlying story that you already know you’re bound to like, and then a twist on it, which you may like or you may not. Either way, it’s a read that grabs your attention. Huff & Puff, written by Claudia Rueda, is a new take on Three Little Pigs. It’s an interactive book that will keep kids engaged right up to the surprise ending.
In Huff & Puff we meet the first pig, building its house out of straw. Then, through a small cut-out circle that goes through to the next page, the reader is encouraged to act out the part of the Big Bad Wolf and blow the house down. Second pig is the same deal, house made out of sticks and the reader huffing and puffing to blow the house down. Of course, neither house can withstand the might of such gusts and they both collapse. The third one, however, is made of bricks. Genius. And alas, we cannot blow it down. What happens next? In the original story, the third pig is happy, safe and sound in its sturdy home. In Huff & Puff there’s an alternate ending that is much happier for everyone, and really, who doesn’t like happy endings?
Claudia Rueda really simplifies the story. Each page has just about a sentence on it, just enough to guide the reader along and hold their attention. The illustrations are superb. I took one look at the cover and fell in love with how Rueda did the artwork for this book. I really cannot put words to how lovely they are; my descriptions will not do them justice. The pigs are round and jolly, with adorable snouts and small black piggy eyes. On one page the pig is shown building its house on a plain white background, and the next page on the spread is filled with straw, sticks, or bricks depending on what you’re trying to blow down. I found the illustrations to be one of the strongest aspects of this children’s book.
Definitely give this book a shot. The illustrations are delightful, and little listeners or young readers will take great pleasure in engaging in the story, and a familiar story at that. This is the kind of book that works perfectly for a read aloud, whether to a group or not. A good picture book can is one of the best ways to have a fabulously fun time with a child, and Huff & Puff provides great, engaged entertainment for both kids and adults alike.