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WINNER of the Books for
Younger Children
category of the
RED HOUSE CHILDREN'S
BOOK AWARD 2006
Click here to find out more.

WINNER of the
Older Picture Book category of the
NORFOLK LIBRARIES CHILDREN'S
BOOK AWARD 2006

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Pigs Might Fly
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The Further Adventures of the Three Little Pigs

Illustrated by Steve Cox

"Let me WIN, little pigs, let me WIN!"
"Not by the hairs on our chinny chin chins!"

The BIG BAD WOLF is back!
And he's crosser than ever!
He's still sore from the first time he met the three little pigs and he wants revenge!
So when the pigs enter the "Pie in the Sky" Air Race, the Wolf is determined to win.
Will it be porkers for pudding or washed-up wolf?
Tuck into this tempting tale to find out.

"A super book with a good storyline, amusingly told and wonderfully illustrated ... a book children will want to look at again and again."

Urmi Chana, BOOKS FOR KEEPS

"Bright, breezy and fun with action on every page."

CAROUSEL

UK

UK Hardcover • ISBN: 0141380861

UK Paperback • ISBN: 0140569901

 

S Korea Finland Sweden
Click here for details of foreign language editions

Buy a signed copy find your local bookshop Buy this book at amazon UK Buy at amazon US


Illustrations © 2005 Steve Cox. Reproduced by permission of Puffin Books.


The idea for this book came from my son Max, who was seven at the time.  As we walked home from school one day, Max told me that he had written a story about the three little pigs.  In Max's story, the pigs had a new adversary, "The Big Bad Ant".  The ant was chasing the pigs and so they climbed on a bicycle to escape.  We played around with the idea as we walked and by the time we got home, the chase had developed into a cycle race in which the ant was using a rocket-powered bike to race ahead of the pigs in an attempt to ambush them.

I thought that the idea had a lot of potential, so, after reinstating the wolf as the villain, I developed it a little further.  I thought that an air race with jet-planes would be more exciting than bicycles and moving the action into the sky also lent itself to a snappy title – Pigs Might Fly.

I tried to go back to the original Three Little Pigs story for inspiration and found that there were dozens of versions in existence*.  Many recent versions include the wolf's two catch-phrases "Let me IN, little pigs, let me IN!" and "Then I'll HUFF and I'll PUFF and I'll BLOW your house in!"  When I realised that these phrases could be adapted to fit my air race plot, I knew that the story was going to work.  In my story the wolf now shouts "Let me WIN, little pigs, let me WIN!" and "Then I'll VROOM and I'll ZOOM and I'll SMASH your plane in!"

It's always gratifying to get a book published, but this book has been particularly satisfying as it represents the achievement of a personal goal – which was to create technology-centred stories that are particularly appealing to boys.  As a parent I had recognised that, like most small boys, my son was fascinated by machines and vehicles.  However as an author it was very frustrating to see how poorly his enthusiasm was catered for in picture books**, in contrast to the prolific responses of toy manufacturers and television producers.  Since then I have been trying to produce picture and pop-up books that would help to address this shortcoming.  Pigs Might Fly is the first book I've had published that I feel has achieved this aim.

Mechanical Bird

This portfolio illustration demonstrated Steve's flair for technology.

The text was taken by Mandy Suhr at Puffin books, who I knew was sympathetic to creating the sort of book that I was hoping for, and we began to discuss possible illustrators.  If the book was to have the right appeal, the appearance of the planes would be as important as the appearance of the characters.  So we needed an illustrator with an obvious aptitude for technology.  Such illustrators are not that common, since artistic people tend not to be technical (and vice versa).  Having experienced this difficulty before, I had done some research and prepared a shortlist of suitable illustrators.  Steve Cox's name was included after I came across an illustration he'd done of a mechanical bird (shown opposite) in an online portfolio.  The illustration demonstrated a conspicuous flair for technology, which combined with the versatility of style he displayed in his other work, made him a strong candidate.  Mandy had prepared a similar shortlist, and Steve's name was also on that - so that settled it.

Once on board, Steve set about doing some character sketches of both the planes and their pilots.  His brief for Wilbur and the Wolf's jets was particularly challenging as I had suggested that, in addition to looking "cool" and "powerful" both planes should resemble their pilots.  I think that the design Steve produced for Wilbur's jet is particularly skilful, since a pig's snub features do not naturally lend themselves to the aerodynamic lines of a jet plane.  And as if that wasn't impressive enough, you can see four more alternative, but equally pig-like, prototype designs hanging above the drawing board in the illustration of Wilbur's office.

Some of Steve's early sketches for Wilbur's jet.

While Steve fine-tuned his designs and spread layouts, the book's editor Sarah-Jane Barrett set about streamlining my text.  I had shoe-horned as many pig and wolf related puns as I could into the original draft, but some of the jokes, such as Woody being "ham-fisted" or Waldo being "pig-ignorant", held up the plot and would not be understood by most young readers – so out they went. However, Steve was able to sneak a few puns back into the illustrations, by including them as headlines in the wolf's newspaper clippings.

Steve's vibrant action-packed final illustrations lived up to the promise of his early sketches and the finished book, with designer Zoe Tunstall's equally energetic typesetting, is everything I'd hoped it would be.  And my son, who started the whole thing with his Big Bad Ant story, loves it.


* It is widely acknowledged that the story was first published as part of a collection entitled Nursery Rhymes and Nursery Tales (London: circa 1843) by James Orchard Halliwell.  Halliwell's story was based on a folk tale, brought to America by African slaves in the same manner as the tales of Uncle Remus.  Halliwell's version was later adapted and popularised by Joseph Jacobs in his collection English Fairy Tales (London: David Nutt, 1898) and has been re-adapted many times since. In this and other early adaptations the wolf eats the first two pigs and is himself eaten by the third . Later adaptations are less carnivorous, with the first two pigs fleeing to take shelter in the third pig's house where the wolf is finally scared away after receiving a bad scalding at the bottom of the chimney. This version of the ending (where all four characters survive) is assumed for the sequel Pigs Might Fly.
Click here to read Joseph Jacobs's 1898 adaptation of The Story of the Three Little Pigs
 
** I'm referring to technology-centred picture book fiction here.  There are quite a few good non-fiction vehicle books available for infants and pre-schoolers, including the "Amazing Machines" series by Tony Mitton and Ant Parker.
This book is for
Tim,
who builds his planes
out of aviation-grade
aluminium

Red House Children’s Book Award 2006

I’m delighted to report that Pigs Might Fly won the “Books for Younger Children” category at the 2006 Red House Children’s Book Awards!

This was the 25th year of the award, which is co-ordinated by the Federation of Children’s Book Groups.

The award is the only major UK children’s book prize decided entirely by young readers.  More than 117,000 children voted in the 2006 award (57,000 at the shortlisting stage and an additional 60,000 for final vote), with each voter reading all of the shortlisted books before casting their vote in each category.

The 2006 Awards ceremony was held at the Hay Festival (a world famous literary festival held in the small Welsh town of Haye-on-Wye) and, in addition to the shortlisted authors and illustrators, was attended by many past winners and children representing book groups from all over the United Kingdom.

After a book-signing session and a couple of speeches, including one by Children’s Laureate Jacqueline Wilson, the shortlist for the “Books for Younger Children” category was announced, with each author and illustrator receiving a lovely portfolio of reader’s letters and drawings.  Steve Cox and I were thrilled when Pigs Might Fly won the category prize, a beautifully engraved silver bowl (shown below).  The “Younger Readers” category was won by Spy Dog by Andrew Cope and the “Older Readers” category by Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightening Thief by Rick Riordan, which also went on to win the overall award and a very impressive looking trophy.

The award organizers were kind enough to invite my family to the ceremony with me, which made the occasion even more special and allowed me to thank my son, Max, in person for inspiring the book when Steve and I went up to accept the award.

Visit the Red House Children’s Book Award web site

Visit the Federation of Children’s Book Groups web site

Steve and I, with my kids, Max and Laura, and the INCREDIBLY shiny silver bowl just after the ceremony.




Updated for today's more modern and discerning young picture book reader, this is a sequel to the classic tale of the Three Little Pigs. The Big Bad Wolf, still miffed from getting his bottom severely scalded the last time he pursued the little oinkers - here called Waldo, Woody and Wilbur - is out for revenge. He decides to intervene when the pigs enter a local 'Pie in the Sky' Air Race. His sabotage of the straw, wooden and metal planes starts well ... but he soon gets his comeuppance! Bright, breezy and fun with action on every page.

John McLay, CAROUSEL

This is a super book with a good storyline, amusingly told and wonderfully illustrated ... The typography has been cleverly accomplished and works delightfully in combination with the Illustrations.  I think this is a book children will want to look at again and again.

Urmi Chana, BOOKS FOR KEEPS

This book is brilliantly paced, full of excitement and a fitting way to revisit well loved characters with a couple of new wrinkles thrown into the mix.

Phil May, READ IT DADDY

This delectable tale bills itself as the Further Adventures of Three Little Pigs ... Fantastic details within the pictures and clever word play make this a great take on the three pigs story ... Guaranteed to entertain.

MY BOOKS MAG

Ever wondered what happened to the three pigs after they had outwitted the wolf?  No, they didn't just live happily ever after - life's not like that. Waldo, Woody and Wilbur (the pigs) decided to enter an air race building their own planes ... You will have to read this comical story with colourful, expressive pictures to find out what happens.  Great fun for all ages and abilities and good for sharing.

D J Williams, PRIMARY TIMES

Breathtaking aeronautics and a pie fest finale. Brilliant, punning fun.

Jill Bennett, WORDPOOL

An original twist to a well-loved and often retold story.

CHILD EDUCATION

The Three Little Pigs meets Top Gun with an exciting twist to the traditional tale from this award-winning author ... Young children will love this fast-paced adventure and be thrilled by the exploits of the brave trio in the 'Pie in the Sky Air Race.'

EDITION MAGAZINE

The illustrations by Steve Cox combine perfectly with the sharp and witty text  to bring out the best in the zany story ... A raucous and crackpot story that works beautifully for both adults and children.
BOOK OF THE MONTH

LEICESTERSHIRE LIBRARY SERVICE



Language
Title
Translator
Publisher
Hardcover ISBN
BUY at Amazon
Spanish (Castilian)
Los tres cerditos aviadores
Remedios Diéguez Diéguez
Elfos
9788484232483
Hardcover
Catalan
Els tres porquets aviadors
Montserrat Solé Serra
Elfos
9788484232186
Hardcover
S Korea
Danish
Kan grise flyve?
Mette Jørgensen
Klematis
8779059252
Finland
Finnish
Possujen lentokisa
Sinikka Sajama
Mäkelä
9518825030
Greek
9601614311
Sweden
Italian
Porcellini in volo
Marinella Barigazzi
Ape
8888883851
Hardcover