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The Pig Who Went Home on Sunday: And Appalachian Folktale

March 1, 2016

 

“Little pig, little pig, let me come in."

"No, no, not by the hair on my chinny chin chin."

"Then I'll huff, and I'll puff, and I'll blow your house in."

 

Most of us are familiar with "The Three Little Pigs" story. One at a time, little piggies venture out from home and are gobbled up by a greedy wolf (as most wolves are presented to us in folktales). 

 

In many versions of the story, the pigs decide to build houses haphazardly of straw, sticks, and bricks because they happen to meet a straw salesman, a stick salesman, and brick salesman respectively on the day they ventured from the security of home. The pigs' survival depends on largely on luck, and then, in the end, many renditions of the story allow the two misinformed pigs to somehow survive being gobbled by a wolf. 

 

The Pig Who Went Home on Sunday, however, combines a strong dose of common sense, balanced with a generous dose of Appalachian humor. In The Pig Who Went Home on Sunday, quick witted storyteller Donald Davis fashions "The Three Little Pigs" around the version his Grandmother told him when he was a young boy growing up in Appalachia.

 

In Davis's award winning version, the pigs do a little more independent thinking. They must decide where to build their homes while being talked up by their chummy and hungry neighbor, a red fox, who certainly doesn't have their best interests in mind. Some of the pigs heed their wise mother's advice, some of the pigs do not, and the ones that don't suffer the consequences of their actions.

 

Donald Davis suggests that the story's parable needs to be read as an important “life lesson” for children to heed adult's instructions. "In all its old oral versions the pig story is a cautionary tale designed to protect children's lives by teaching hard lessons," explains Davis. Most teachers and parents find this message especially relevant for young children in their classrooms and in their families.

 

This timeless tale is beautifully illustrated by Jennifer Mazzucco in a whimsical style that reflects the folk origins of the tale. The Pig Who Went Home on Sunday has received several highly respected awards including the NAPPA Children's Resources Gold Award and Notable Trade Books for Young People. It was also cited by the International Reading Association for young children.

 

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