Kids: (karate noises) YAGH! WHAH! SWOOSH-WOOSH!
Dad: Written by Corey Rosen Schwartz. And illustrated by --
Lily (age 9): Dan Santat.
Gracie (age 12): He's an illustrator and a ninja.
Dad: The 6 kids and I just read the book. And now the 3 oldest kids are here reviewing it, while the 3 littlest ones are...
Gracie: Doing karate stuff.
Dad: They've turned into little ninjas, spinning all over the room.
Gracie: They're all like WAH! HAWAH!
Dad: It's funny to see the baby running around doing ninja moves. Hey, you three need to be quieter while we do the review...
Gracie: This book is about these three pigs that live in China. There's this wolf in their village that they have to get rid of because he's blowing things down. He's a big bully and he rules the world or something.
Dad: So, there are Three Pigs... a Big Bad Wolf... this sounds like...
Gracie: The Three Little Pigs. It's pretty much the same only they changed the word 'little' to 'ninja.'
Isaac (age 14): It definitely makes it different.
Lily: They are taking the original and they are re-storying it.
Gracie: They are strange-ing it up.
Lily: Twisting it.
Isaac: It's cool - I like how it's twisted with ninjas and karate.
Gracie: Twisted Ninjas!
Lily: (singing) I'm a twisted ninjaaaaaaa! A twisted ninjaa-aa-aa!
Dad: So what happens in this ninja version?
Gracie: The pigs don't like the wolf being a bully, so they go train at different Ninja Schools. The first pig drops out because he's lazy.
Lily: I think he's not very smart. All the other animals in the dojo are flipping each other like, WAH! SHOOP! WHAP! But Pig One is just snoring.
Dad: And the second pig?
Lily: Pig Two stopped halfway through too. He thought, "I don't need any more learning. I'm good enough to defeat the evil wolf now. Ha- ha-ha-ha."
Isaac: But he got kicked.
Dad: Third pig?
Isaac: Pig Three studies karate, she goes through all the lessons, and she masters it. She defeats the wolf.
Gracie: She scares him.
Lily: By splitting bricks on top of each other.
Gracie: That third pig is a millionaire! Did you see how big her house is???
Lily: WAH! WEW! WHEW! Pork Chop!
Gracie: The author and illustrator probably based Pig Three off of Miss Piggie.
Isaac: They are probably Muppet fans.
Gracie: Are you guys Muppet fans?
Lily: When Miss Piggie gets offended her eyes get really big!
Gracie: And she goes HI-YAH! with her perfectly manicured hooves.
Dad: So that sums up the story. What did you think about the art?
Lily: I like the end pages. Those are pretty nice. They are pretty scenes.
Isaac: I really like how the author told the story with all the rhyming and the twist to it. I also really like the artwork. I like the... the... whatchacallit... the um, perspective of the characters.
Dad: You mean Foreshortening?
Gracie: New word!
Dad: When a character has an arm or a leg coming out toward you, the artist needs to know how to use 'foreshortening' -- they make the leg look bigger and overlapped to show that it's closer.
Isaac: Yeah. I'm bad at that!
Dad: You see foreshortening a lot in superhero comics. It's really tricky.
Isaac: Yeah it is.
Dad: Done right, it looks like the foot is coming toward you. Done wrong it looks like, "Man, that dude has a really short leg and a huge foot." It's definitely a skill you have to learn.
Isaac: Dan Santat is good.
(One by one the older kids have been slinking away to join the younger kids in jumping around the room karate style)
Lily: Bacon action!
Lily: WHEW! WEW! WEW!
Dad: Are you guys done with this review then?
Gracie: WAP! WAP! WAP!
Isaac: NINJITSU! Ow! I just pulled something in my leg!
Dad: Are you guys going to go make your review-fan-art now... or practice ninja skills on each other?
Isaac: Ouch. I'm going to go get a heating pad...
Pig Three versus A Duck, by Lily
Pig Three versus Miss Piggie, by Gracie
Pig Three versus A Punching Bag, by Isaac
Author: Corey Rosen Schwartz
Illustrator: Dan Santat
Published, 2012: Putnam
Like it? Here it is...