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Monday, July 16, 2012

Huff & Puff, written and illustrated by Claudia Rueda. Abrams Appleseed, Canadian Manda Group. 2012. $13.95 ages 3and up

"Can You Blow Down
the Houses of the Three
Little Pigs?"

Do you need more invitation than that? I surely hope not.

In this classy little version of the fairy tale that pits pigs against a huffing and puffing wily wolf, we get to be the huffers and puffers.

I love these pigs right from the start...they are readers, and they are seriously considering visitors who might come to their new homes in their choice of book. One is reading about how 'oinkful' cooking can be, the second is learning about keeping guests happy during their visit, and the third has already scanned a cookbook and found a recipe for an inviting dessert. What more can we ask, if we are going to try blowing their houses down?

The cutout on the front cover offers an opportunity to see those pigs, and provides a  open invitation to make our way inside. We note, on the title page, that these are industrious little porkers, all with a goal in mind. They have the means, the materials and the chutzpah to get right the construction of a new house for each of them.

The text is one line per double page spread and gives an attentive preschooler all that is needed to move forward to our part in the story. Wait for it...the house is built, the pig is happy and now it's our turn. HUFF and PUFF! OOPS! Score a victory for us; leave behind one very disgruntled pig, clutching a whisk and a bowl of eggs. Dinner prep is curtailed with no house for protection.

There's a lot to see as we eagerly take the wolf's role and blow our way from house to house. Then, there are the bricks! What now?  You will never guess!!!

A perfect chance for little ones and their parents to realize the brilliance of the picture book, and the great joy to be had in sharing a story.

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