UNION — Education is a serious thing but that doesn’t mean it can’t have its moments of whimsy in its service.
What’s one of the first stories a child learns to read/is read to by their parents? There’s quite a few that could fit into that category, all of them simple, but delightful introductions to reading for a child who will always treasure them even when they move on to more complex and sophisticated literature.
If you had to choose one, however, you’d probably be pretty much on the money if you said “The Three Little Pigs.”
The story, which has been in print since the early part of the 19th century though thought to be much older. tells the story of three pigs who leave their home to make their way in the world. They part company, each proceeding to build a house of their own with each using different materials with the first using straw, the second using sticks, and the third using bricks.
The other main character is a wolf who comes along and blows down the houses of the first two pigs, but is unable to blow down the third. In some versions of the story, the wolf devours the first two pigs, while in others they flee to safety with their brother. Also, some versions have the wolf trying to climb down the chimney of the third pig’s house on to fall into a pot of boiling water and be killed, while in others he survives but flees never to return.
Of course, one aspect of the story that is never absent is the exchange between the wolf as he demands entry into the home of each pig, their response to him and his response to them:
“Little pig, little pig, let me come in.”
“Not by the hair on my chinny chin chin.”
“Then I’ll huff, and I’ll puff, and I’ll blow your house down.”
The popularity of the story has also resulted in it being adapted to big screen as cartoons produced by the Walt Disney, Warner Brothers, and MGM studios. Furthermore, the characters have been used in other animated productions such as the “Shrek” movies and TV specials and the children’s TV series “Goldie & Bear.”
More recently, however, The Three Little Pigs and The Big Bad Wolf (first grade teachers Lauren Queen, Sheila Bates, Bethany Howell, and Jeri Styles) visited Foster Park Elementary School. They weren’t there, however, to continue their long feud so no houses were blown down and nobody was eaten or boiled alive. No, the pigs and the wolf were working together to celebrate reading as part of the school’s annual book fair.
It’s only right that these characters who have entertained children for nearly 200 years, inspiring them to read, should be a part of the FPES book fair and continue to encourage children to read, not only about them but other works of literature that have stood the test of time. By doing so, they will help ensure that 200 years from now their story — and many others — will still be being read to and by the children of that generation and generations to come.
Charles Warner can be reached at 864-762-4090.