With a story told from the bad guy’s point of view, you can’t expect bright colors and smooth drawings! Lane Smith’s art fits The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs perfectly. The colors are mostly dark - maroons and burnt oranges, browns and tans. Each picture looks grainy, but on closer inspection, the marks are a lot of texture added to each drawing, like bumps on bricks, needles of hay, woodgrain on the chalkboard frame. The desaturated colors work well with the few samples of newsprint on the covers and at the end of the book. The illustrations seem a little dark for such a humorous story, but they are effective at setting the mood of an unreliable narrator trying to get you to believe his side of the story.
Publishers Weekly praises the illustrations specifically, saying, “Smith’s highly imaginative watercolors eschew realism, further updating the tale, though some may find their urbane stylization and intentionally static quality mystifyingly adult.” School Library Journal also comments on the overall dark and shadowy drawings, saying, “[…] the bespectacled wolf moves with a rather sinister tonelessness, and his juicy sneezes tear like thunderbolts through a dim, grainy world.”
I think it’s fun to read fractured fairy tales and compare them with the originals. This book is especially fun because the wolf seems sympathetic, wanting to bake a cake for his granny! It’s interesting to see who kids side with, since most know the other story of the three little pigs, and are now faced with looking at it from the bad guy’s point of view.
Books. ISBN 9780140544510