Monday, February 21, 2011

Los Tres Pequeños Jabalíes

Lowell, Susan. 1996. LOS TRES PEQUEÑOS JABALÍES. Ill. by Jim Harris. Arizona: Rising Moon. ISBN 0-87358-661-1

Plot Summary
LOS TRES PEQUEÑOS JABALÍES or THE THREE LITTLE JAVELINAS is a version of "The Three Little Pigs" retold by the "chili-flavored" styling of Susan Lowell.  The story takes place in the Southwestern regions, and creatively incorporates images of the desert in to the classic story.  After a whirlwind of a dust storm, the first javelina builds a home from tumbleweeds.  Coyote smells the little piggy and prepares himself for a meal.  He easily huffs and puffs and blows the tumbleweed house in.  After escaping the first javelina makes it to the next javelina's house of cactus sticks.  After a bit of tricks, magic, huffing and puffing, Coyote has no trouble blowing the second house in.  Javelinas one and two run to the home of javelina number three, and she built a solid home of adobe.  No matter how hard Coyote tried to blow, he could not make the adobe falter.  He tried his magic to sneak down the stove pipe, but sister javelina was quick on the draw, and sent old Coyote away  in a "puff of smoke."  

Critical Analysis
The southwestern take on the classic beast tale, "The Three Little Pigs" uses authentic dialect from the desert to add an interesting flare.  The ties to Southwestern culture are strengthened by the adjacent Spanish and English translations.  Edgy detailed desert-scapes depict the  setting from the specific region which is likely to spark a readers interest in the area and the language.  The javelina heroine builds her home intelligently with adobe brick, and she also outsmarts the evil wolf.  The final scene of Coyote in a puff of smoke is quite different from his sinister debut appearance at the beginning of the book.  Coyote's final "noise" is "Yip yap yeep YEE-OWW-OOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" which translates terrifically in to the Spanish version, "¡Aa aay aaay Aaaayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!"  Even the most basic language learners have a place to start with these fun expletives.  


Arizona Young Readers Award 1994 THE THREE LITTLE JAVELINAS 

Washington Children's Choice Picture Book Award Finalist 1996 THE THREE LITTLE JAVELINAS


"The text is fast-paced and witty in both languages, and is accompanied by energetic, full-page illustrations done in rich earthy tones that evoke the setting as faithfully as the text." - School Library Journal

"Harris's lively, finely detailed illustrations, with the bristling, pink-nosed peccaries clad in cowboy outfits, amusingly contrast the villain's vigorous wiles with the title characters' cozy domesticity." - Publishers Weekly


  • Students learning English or Spanish, Los Tres Pequeños Jabalíes can trade off reading by sections rotating from Spanish to English.  
  • Flash Spanish:  Each child can draw a flash card with English on one side and Spanish on the other.  As the teacher reads the story in English, students can listen for their word or phrase.  When they hear it in English they can yell out the Spanish translation.  The rest of the class can chant the translation with the teacher, and then continue the story.
  • Three Little Pigs Culturama:  After reading the original "Three Little Pigs" and "Los Tres Pequeños Jabalíes" students can be assigned a specific country or region, research the culture, landscape, flora, fauna and linguistics to create their own version of the timeless folktale.  

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