Tuesday, 12 August 2014

The Three Ninja Pigs by Corey Rosen Schwartz and Dan Santat (Penguin (US) Putnam (UK))

The Three Ninja Pigs

Written by Corey Rosen Schwartz

Illustrated by Dan Santat

Published by Penguin Books

It's no mean feat to take a well-loved children's story and put your own spin on it, particularly if it's a story that's been the inspiration for so many other children's books. We were contacted by ace stateside writer Corey Schwartz who thought we'd love her brilliant books. She wasn't wrong, and so we're taking a look at a couple of her books - first up, "The Three Ninja Pigs".

Three little piggies have had just about enough of that mean rotten old wolf, who is a big bully and a bit of a martial arts expert. So the piggies decide to take action! They'll train to become "The Three Ninja Piggies" and will teach that wolf a lesson or two!

The first piggy decides to become an Aikido master. At first he learns lots of new tricks and defence moves, but lacks the discipline demanded by this tricky martial art, and skips classes (Bad move, piggy!)

The second piggy wants to learn the ways of the Jujitsu master. Again though this little piggy takes things seriously, he doesn't see things through and also drops out part-way through his training.

Uh oh, trouble for Pig one and Pig two?

The third little piggy, our favourite, is disciplined and thorough, and she chooses Karate as her preferred martial art to study. She takes her training very seriously, and follows it through to the end.

You can imagine what happens next when the mean old wolf comes around. He makes short work of piggy 1 and 2 but their sister is an entirely different prospect. She teaches the bully a lesson in more ways than one, relying on brains as well as fighting prowess to see that wolf off!

We loved the action in this story, from start to finish it's nail biting and tense as the story gears up for a good old fashioned showdown. Feeling more like a kid's action comic than a traditional picture book lends "The Three Ninja Pigs" even more merit, and ensuring that there's no direct violence in the story or in the art means that it's safe for a good range of ages too (after all, anyone who studies any discipline in martial arts will tell you that it's not all about the biff, sock, pow but is more about a state of mind, a lifestyle choice and knowing that the best offence is often a good defence).

Great stuff, we look forward to reviewing "Little Ninja Riding Hood" which we'll be taking a closer look at very soon!

Corey and a couple of her awesome fans

Charlotte's best bit: A brilliant kick-butt female hero, a great respin on a much loved children's story

Daddy's Favourite bit: Great rhyming story, awesome art, a thoroughly entertaining piggy tale!

(Kindly supplied in PDF format by Corey Schwartz)