Reviews for Huff & Puff

Booklist Reviews 2012 May #1
Colombian writer-illustrator Rueda presents the tale of the three little pigs as a young child might tell it, with short phrases, plenty of huffing and puffing, and an improvised conclusion. Stretching across four double-page spreads, here's the "first little pig" segment of the story: "First pig building a house. / First little pig inside the house. / One wolf huffing and puffing. / HUFF & PUFF. / First pig is not happy." The right-hand "HUFF & PUFF" page includes a round hole in the ampersand, inviting children to stand in for the wolf (who never appears in the illustrations) and blow the house down. A turn of the page shows the disgruntled little pig still standing, mixing bowl in hand, as the straw settles around him. After trips to the stick house and the brick house, the story ends happily for pigs and wolf alike. Simple but wonderfully expressive, the illustrations are ink drawings with pale washes of tan, pink, yellow, and blue. A beautifully designed and wholly engaging picture book for young children. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2012 Fall
"Can You Blow Down the Houses of the Three Little Pigs?" invites the sturdy die-cut cover. Each pig builds a house; then, small participants serve as "one wolf huffing and puffing" through a dime-sized hole. The first two pigs are shown beating eggs and mixing batter; the third time, the "wolf" has blown out birthday cake candles. Like her repetitive text, Rueda's illustrations are gently funny and elegantly simple.

Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2012 #3
"Can You Blow Down the Houses of the Three Little Pigs?" invites the sturdy die-cut cover of this latest spin-off of the classic nursery tale. Actually, the conceit here (and the appeal) is simpler than the original story -- knowledge of which, however, would seem to be prerequisite to full enjoyment of this variant. As usual, each pig builds a house; then, small participants serve as "one wolf huffing and puffing" through a dime-sized hole. A page turn reveals, in the first instance, a doleful, straw-strewn pig, on the verge of beating eggs; second, a pig unhappily surrounded with fallen sticks but with well-mixed batter in his bowl; and finally, after "one wolf huffing and puffing, AGAIN. (REALLY hard)" through the last little die-cut hole, there's a "SURPRISE!": the wolf (i.e., the reader; we never actually see a wolf) has blown out the three candles on the cake the pigs have made, and now "three pigs and one wolf are happy." Like her repetitive text, Rueda's illustrations are gently funny and elegantly simple. A watercolor palette of pale blue and brown sets off swatches of pig pink and pinker brick, delicately defined in scribbled pen and ink. The main event here will be the huffing and puffing through those holes, which suggests that the book may be best enjoyed with copy in hand. Still, clever storytellers may find ways to engage several children in windy group efforts. joanna rudge long Copyright 2012 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2012 February #1
This sweet little bare-bones version of "The Three Pigs" places readers in an active role. The opening spread looks plain and ordinary: "First pig building a house," says the text, as a pig builds a modest thatched hut. Black pen lines give shading and texture to pale watercolors, surrounded by calming white space. Soon the pig's inside the hut, gazing happily out the window. But spread three brings an invitation. The left-hand page says, merely, "One wolf huffing and puffing," and the book's subtitle is the key here—for there's no wolf to be seen. The right-hand page says "HUFF & PUFF" in lined block letters, and the ampersand's lower circle is a cut-out hole. When the reader blows through the hole, the reward is a sad and perturbed pig with loose straw floating down through the air. The reader/wolf blew down the hut! The second pig suffers the same fate. Tradition prevails as the third house, made of brick, is too strong to succumb to air. Does the reader/wolf end up defeated? Nope—Rueda introduces a new result of blowing, one familiar to many toddlers and connected to gustatory joy all around. A good chance for youngsters to relish enacting the wicked role while still getting a (not particularly logical, but who cares) friendly reconciliation at the end. (Picture book. 1-3) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 January #3

With a series of die-cut holes and prompts, Rueda (My Little Polar Bear) invites readers to first play the part of a Big Bad Wolf (hence the title), then discover that they're not being so villainous after all. Rueda pares the original story down to the bare essentials ("First pig building a house. First pig inside the house. One wolf huffing and huffing"). Small die-cut holes in the "huff and puff" pages invite readers to show off their lungpower, and a page turn reveals the destructive results ("First pig is not happy"). At the third pig's brick house, however, readers learn that the wolf isn't so much a menace as a nuisance--it becomes clear that each of the three pigs built a house in order to bake a birthday cake for the wolf, who keeps spoiling their plans. Rueda offers few clues to what she's up to, so readers will have to be particularly attuned to nuance. But the novelty of mild interactivity, coupled with comically minimalist text, should ameliorate any minor frustrations with the storytelling. Ages 2-6. (Mar.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2012 May

PreS-K--Everyone knows the story of the three little pigs. They build houses. The wolf huffs and puffs and blows them down--well, twice. But why are Rueda's pigs reading recipe books like The Oink of Cooking? This singular mystery--to be solved on the final page--is a satisfying ingredient in the story, along with its simple, captivating text and layout. The cutout cover frames three adorable, smiling porkers. One sturdy white page contains the large-print words: "First pig building a house." A funny, colored pen-and-ink illustration of a straw house taking shape through the exertions of a struggling pink pig appears on the opposite page. Each time one of the threesome is happily installed in his new home, readers find, "One wolf huffing and puffing," and then, in huge letters, "HUFF & PUFF." (A hole in the middle of the ampersand lets children peek at the consequences.) Very young readers will get a kick out of taking the wolf's part, and their parents will appreciate that the scariest bits of the original tale have been omitted.--Susan Weitz, formerly at Spencer-Van Etten School District, Spencer, NY

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