Book Review: The Three Little Pigs

The Three Little Pigs: An Architectural Tale by Steven Guarnaccia
Abrams, 2010
Hardcover, 32 pages

In the oft-told tale where three little pigs build their own houses of straw, sticks and bricks, it's clear which house withstands the hungry wolf attempts to "blow your house in." But what if the houses were more complex in their design, more modern, and were designed by famous architects, who would prevail? Steven Guarnaccia retells the story with Frank Gehry, Philip Johnson and Frank Lloyd Wright as the pigs, again striking out on their own "to make their way in the world." The results are no less surprising, but the journey in this carefully illustrated version is a good deal of fun for children and their parents alike.
Within the architects', I mean pigs' houses are artifacts of modern design, be it a chair, rug or even coffee pot. These and many other designs litter the illustrations, creating a landscape of modernism within the familiar story. Helpful endpapers allow the designers to be known. As the parent of a two-year-old girl I can see the myriad educational opportunities, from matching images to word association and even creating stories within the story. The addition of these elements that go well beyond the inclusion of three famous names in architecture make this book not only justifiable, but highly rewarding.