I realize that I've reviewed a bunch of children's books in a row lately. That's because the Moffat County Library has a wonderful display of new fairy tales right now, and they're irresistible. I'll get back to adult books shortly.
This week's book is written by Steven Kellogg, one of my favorite children's authors. His humorous books (about 90 of them) are a treat because of their imaginative storyline and detailed illustrations.
Kellogg has retold a number of classics, including "Jack and the Beanstalk" and "Pecos Bill." In this week's book, he expands the character of the mother pig in "The Three Little Pigs."
Serafina lives with Percy, Pete and Prudence, her three piglets. Money is scarce, so times aren't easy for Serafina. Then one night, as her piglets sleep away in their triple layer of bunk beds, Serafina has a dream.
In the dream, Serafina sees a waffle, a big one. Suddenly, she knows what she wants to do. Serafina wants to make big waffles and sell them to the world.
The next day, Serafina and her children go to the dump (where people are invited to browse) and find all of the parts to make a waffle-making machine.
First, they bolt an old waffle machine on some wheels. Then they add several green hoses, a bunch of pipes and three tanks. Before long, "The Wheeled Wafflery" is ready. The pigs put a brightly-colored umbrella on top.
Serafina pours waffle batter, butter and powdered sugar into the machine. She adds maple syrup right from the maple tree with a hose. And pretty soon, the pigs start producing big, delicious waffles.
Every morning at dawn, the pigs are out in the countryside with their machine. They make up and serve waffles to owls, kangaroos, mice, cats, turtles and just about any other animal you can think of.
Boy, does that waffle business ever take off. Money is no longer short. Serafina enrolls her piglets in Hog Hollow Academy, where they excel at everything. According to his teacher, Pete is perfect.
When her children graduate, Serafina decides it's time to retire. She turns the waffle business over to the piglets and loads all of her things (including the trash can) on top of a taxi. Serafina is headed for the Gulf of Pasta.
So, the three pigs take over where Mama left off. In their spare time, the pigs build three houses, one for each pig. There's a straw bungalow, a log cabin and a brick house.
All goes well until one day when a stranger stops by the waffle machine. A saying on his shirt announces, "Say yes to thugs," and there's a picture of a wolf on his jacket. It's Tempesto, who is a wolf, indeed, and he's mighty mean looking, too. It's pretty clear that he's up to no good.
The pigs show Tempesto the waffle menu. He can have several varieties of waffles, including plain, radish and rhubarb. But, waffles aren't what Tempesto has in mind. He's thinking along the lines of bacon, ham and sausage.
The wolf makes a grab for the pigs, but the waffle machine tips over on top of him, and the pigs flee. There's a lot of excitement to come, and some surprises, too. It's a must-read book.
"The Three Little Pigs" is published by Harper Collins Publishers, 1997. The hardcover book costs $17.89.