Written by: Corey Rosen Schwartz Illustrated by: Dan Santat
Take time to look over the front cover and illustrations throughout the book:
Engage the imagination.
"What do you think this story is going to be about?"
"Why on earth would a pig be studying to become a ninja?!"
Flip to a page that captures your child’s attention.
"What do you think is happening in this picture?"
Activate Prior Knowledge
The Three Ninja Pigs tells an adapted version of the three little pigs who built their homes out of straw, sticks and brick so ask your child if this story reminds them of any stories that they may know.
Then, ask him/her to refresh your memory about the original story by asking, “Can you remind me of how the story of The Three Little Pigs goes?”
This will help your child to make connections between the original story and this new adaptation later on.
As You Read
This story contains the phrase “kick your big butt”. If this is language that you object to or would prefer your child didn’t use, you may choose to alter this phrase as you are reading the story or use this as an opportunity to discuss language that you don't think is appropriate.
Three Ninja Pigs is packed with lots of punches so have fun! Use different, fun voices when reading to your child and encourage him / her to join in when you come across words in bold or all caps.
For example, when you come across the word “KIYA!”, tell your child “Let’s say it together. KIYA!” You can even accompany it with a punch into the air for added fun.
Ask your child to look for the following words in the story to see if s/he can discover their meaning by using the illustrations and words around it:
You can make connections not only with the story of The Three Little Pigs, and also with your child’s own life experiences.
For example, when the little pigs had enough of the wolf’s huffing and puffing, ask your child, “Have you ever had enough of someone treating you unkindly? What did you do about it?”
The importance of hard work and determination are highlighted in this story, so encourage your child to try new things and stick to what s/he really enjoys.
To ensure comprehension, ask your child some of the following questions about the story:
- What was your favorite part of the story? Why?
- How is this story similar to and different than the original story of The Three Little Pigs?
- When Pig Three met the wolf, she did backflips, butterfly kicks, and she split a stack of bricks. Why do you think she showed the wolf her karate moves instead of fighting him?
- What do you think Pig One and Pig Two learned from their sister? What did YOU learn from her?
- What might you do differently in the future now that you have read this story?
Ask about existing interests: “What is it that you really like to do? Will you work harder to be better at it? Why/why not?”
Enquire about future endeavors: “Think about something new you would like to learn. What will you do to learn this new skill and to do it well?”
You can also revisit your previous question about bullying: “If someone is a being unkind to you or someone you know now, what would you do about it?”
Bring your child’s attention to the consequences of the pig’s actions: “What would have happened if the third pig had decided to fight the wolf immediately? What would YOU have done?”
Introduce the term “setting” to your child and explain that this means where the story takes place.
The setting of The Three Ninja Pigs is Japan. Find Japan on a map with your child. Next, look for images throughout the book that suggest Japan is the setting (for example: Mt. Fuji, Japanese architecture, Japanese writing, Japanese clothing, and cherry blossoms).
Explain to your child that cherry blossom trees are very special in Japan, for they are only in bloom for a couple of weeks every year. Families and friends attend cherry blossom festivals around the country.
Make Your Own Cherry Blossom Tree
We hope that this project will remind your child of The Three Ninja Pigs and the lessons s/he has learned from this book.
- Gather branches that have fallen outside, pink tissue paper, and white glue.
- Help your child tear the tissue paper into 20 2-inch squares.
- Together, pinch the tissue paper squares tightly in the middle to create blooms and affix them to the branches with white glue.
- When you are done, display your cherry blossom tree in a glass jar!