The Magic of Three

3 fish and shark

Our Sunday librarian, Jane, has dubbed me The Pied Piper. The nickname is really catching on…especially outside the walls of OWL. My husband and I went to dinner with friends one evening, and their three boys joined us. We had met their sons briefly on a couple of different ocassions, but we never played with them or spent a lot of time with them prior to this dinner.

Joey, aged five, wiped his eyes drearily as the moon came out and walked right over to me and put his head on my shoulder. “Can you tell me a story?” he begged with a tired voice. I must have forgotten to turn my storytime radar off after I left work.

“Sure!” I said as he crawled into my lap. Luckily, I had just finished a storytime unit about the magic number “three” and the stories were fresh on my mind. I began the tale of The Three Little Fish and the Big Bad Shark (JP GEI).

“Once upon a time there lived three little fish: Johnny, Cooper and Joey,” I said, using his brother’s names. The last one is always the hero of the story.

He beamed as I told the tale of Joey outsmarting the Big Bad Shark by finding shelter for him and his brothers in an abondoned ship. His favorite part of the story was when the fish sang (in a high pitched voice, of course!), “Not by the skin of my finny fin fin!” In the end, Joey’s ship house caused the The Big Bad Shark to lose his teeth and become a plant eater. Joey cheered when he saved the day and then begged for another story.

Johnny’s head popped out from his handheld video game system and wanted to hear the tale of Johnny saving the brothers from the Big Bad Shark. Once I told that story, Cooper banged his sippy cup on the high chair and yelled, “Me! Me!” Then I retold the tale in which Cooper saves the day. Luckily I was saved when the waiter came, armed with chocolate ice cream.

Next week my husband and I are going on vacation with Joey, Johnny, Cooper and his parents. We have two plane rides and a week of bedtime stories to get through during our trip. I have to freshen up on my number three stories! With an early winter upon us, I thought I would share my favorite stories of three. Maybe you can add some stories in your arsenal to spice up your impending winter family time:

3 true story of pigs

Clever Twists on the Classic:

The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by A. Wolf (as told to Jon Scieszka) (JP SCI) Clever wolf tries to convince the reader that the whole Big Bad Wolf wrap came from a misunderstanding about a cup of sugar. The sarcastic tone makes the story even funnier!

3 horrid pigs

Three Horrid Little Pigs by Liz Pichon (JP PIC) In this tale, the three little pigs are forced out of their house by their mother because they are lazy and horrid. A big friendly wolf tries to help the pigs, who continually kick him out. The wolf’s persistence contributes to a happy ending (and less horrid pigs).

3 rigs 3 pigs wiesner 3 little wolves

Three Little Rigs by David Gordon (JP GOR) Mortar, welding and magnetism–oh my! This is a perfect tale for the boys!

The Three Pigs by David Wiesner (JP WIE) This Caldecott winner begins the same way as the familiar tale, but this time the wolf blows the pigs right out of the page of the storybook! The pigs create paper airplanes to fly about and end up in a dragon’s tale. Characters merge to create a new ending to the tale.

The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig by Eugene Trivizas (JP-ILLUS TRI) It’s nice to see the pig as the bad guy, and the surprise ending makes this a read worth while.

Southern Styles:

3 gators 3 tamales 3 swinging pigs

If you enjoy the flavors of the south, try one of these. My favorite is Three Little Gators by Helen Ketteman (JP KET). A southern flare adds to this version of the classic tale in which three little gators outsmart the Big-Bottomed Boar. This laugh out loud story will delight your child as they shake their bottom in the grand finale! Others available at OWL are: The Three Little Tamales (JP KIM), The Three Swinging Pigs (JP RUB), The Three Little Javelinas (JP LOW), and The Three Cajun Pigs (JP ART).

Lisa Shaia is the children’s librarian who will be reciting these tales throughout her vacation!

3 thoughts on “The Magic of Three

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