Monday, February 7, 2011

Book Review, Alaska's Three Pigs

Children's Book Review by Deirdre Smith

Apparently the three little pigs have decided to leave behind their traditional home environment and head off to the Alaskan bush in Alaska’s Three Pigs. In this version of the classic tale written by Arlene Laverde, illustrated by Mindy Dwyer and published by Sasquatch Books (2000), the three pigs decide to travel by biplane to Alaska where they will build homesteads, fish, hunt, play and eat canned yams.

The pigs are captivated by their new environment and spend the summer camping and playing rather than building homes. It isn’t until the weather turns cold enough for them to have to dig out their winter coats that they start looking for home sites.

The first pig is not very industrious and settles for a broken down cabin that has been abandoned for some time. After tossing his belongings in the cabin he heads out to snowboard. The second pig actually constructs a house of simple branches, grass and moss in the open tundra before he heads off to ski. The third and most industrious pig builds an igloo made of ice bricks before he heads off to ride on a dog sled.

The pigs are loud and noisy as they participate in their particular winter sports and soon wake a sleeping grizzly. The bear is hungry and ornery and longing for pork.

You can guess what happens next. The pigs rush home when the bear’s grumblings are heard only to have him destroy two of their homes.

The pigs all survive in this version of the story and so does the bear. He falls into a water barrel the third pig had set up for his drinking water. The barrel is dragged outside containing the bear. After a brief time he is wheeled to his cave, encased in ice.

Alaska's Three Pigs is filled with action and humor. The illustrations by Mindy Dwyer are colorful and playful. The primary colors of the illustrations are picked up and used in accented text throughout the story. We loved the descriptive words and pictures in this book.

JDaniel really enjoyed hearing this wonderful tale. I decided it would be fun to retell the story using walking finger puppets I made out a paper plates. Actually JDaniel painted the plates pink using water colors and I cut the pigs out of them

He loved pretending to make the pigs walk, ski, and run using these puppets.

I chose to not add decorations or costumes to the pigs so we can use them again with other versions of the story.

Reviewed by Deirdre Smith

Deirdre Smith was a classroom teacher and technology integration specialist in elementary schools for twenty years. Although she shared a lot of knowledge with her students and learned a lot from them, it wasn’t until she became a mom that she truly came to understand what it was like to share and learn beside a child.

She shares the lessons she is learning and her reflections on parenting on her blog JDaniel4’s Mom. The blog also focuses on reading and learning explorations with her son JDaniel, along with mom related reviews and giveaways.

Find more Children's Book Reviews on The Book Chook via the Table of Contents.


  1. JDaniel4's MOm07 February, 2011

    Thank you so much for the oppotunity to share this review.

  2. The Book Chook07 February, 2011

    Thank YOU for contributing a great book and an insightful review, Deirdre! I think Alaska's Three Pigs would be an interesting model to use with kids to ask them to make up their own variation of the classic tale.

    They could come to Australia and bring a boat and cyclone repellent!

  3. Deb Chitwood07 February, 2011

    This is great - thanks for sharing! My family always enjoyed winter sports - and my kids would have LOVED this book when they were little!
    Deb @

  4. The Book Chook07 February, 2011

    Deb, that's a good point and an added advantage of a book set in a winter landscape!

  5. Terry Doherty08 February, 2011

    This sounds just wonderful. I am fascinated with all things Alaska - real or fictional - so this one goes on the TBR pile!! Thanks Ms. Chook.

  6. The Book Chook08 February, 2011

    Thank Deirdre, Terry! I'm so pleased to broaden the scope of The Book Chook with reviews and articles from writers around the world.

  7. I'm rather fascinated by snow and so are my kids. I think we would enjoy this version of the 3 little pigs.

  8. The Book Chook08 February, 2011

    Snow IS fascinating when you're not used to it, right? I remember how excited I was in the US when it started to snow, running around outside, tasting it, scraping up slush to try to make a snowball etc. Strange thing was, I was the only one doing that!

  9. The story sounds really silly and fun! Kids would just love it!

  10. The Book Chook08 February, 2011

    Silly and fun is perfect when it's wrapped inside a book - I agree, blueviolet!


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