Bruce Whatley's Wait! No Paint!
Review by Susan Sydall
A Hilarious Version of The Three Little Pigs
You know you're onto a great children's book when your child asks you to read it again and again ... and you want to read it again and again!
This was the case recently when we came across "Wait! No Paint!" by Bruce Whatley. While I've lost count of how many times this story has been read in our home, each reading is still accompanied by gales of laughter from our children and continued cries for 'read it again' when particularly funny passages come up.
When the story begins, it sounds just like another retelling of "The Three Little Pigs". However, by the second page, humorous alterations from the traditional tale start creeping in. You'll soon discover why the three little pigs left home. You would too if there were seventy-three relatives living in your house!
It's the twists from the original story which add to the humour in this story. However, "Wait! No Paint!" doesn't require you to know the traditional story of "The Three Little Pigs" as it is well able to stand on its own merit.
One of the features I appreciate about this book is the creative use of the superbly expressive illustrations. Not only do the characters interact with each other as part of the story line, they interact with the "voice from nowhere in particular" - also known as the "Illustrator".
The illustrator is the unseen character whose participation in the story makes it hilarious. When the illustrator spills his juice on an illustration, the accident becomes part of the story line. When the illustrator runs out of red paint, then the characters suddenly experience problems not yet thought of.
The inclusion of the illustrator within the story provides a great opportunity to talk with children about how books are created. For example, it often takes many people to create a book including an author who writes the words and an illustrator who creates the pictures. In this case, the roles of the author and illustrator have been taken on by the same person, namely Bruce Whatley.
As Bruce Whatley has control of both the words and the illustrations, he's done a fantastic job of marrying these two aspects together. There is a natural flow between the words and the illustrations. They explain one another with a clarity that leaves the reader with a clear understanding of what is happening, how the characters are feeling and why.
Another terrific aspect of this book is that it is well paced. There's plenty of action, as well as numerous surprises, that keep children wanting to turn the page to find out what is going to happen next. The dialogue provides great opportunity for the reader to mimic different voices in order to portray the various characters. This adds to the fun when reading the book aloud.
As for the ending ... let's just say it's totally unexpected and definitely caused us all (young and old ... I mean ... mature) to giggle! Want to know about it? Ah ... I'd love to tell you but that would ruin the surprise. You're just going to have to read this book yourself ... with your child ... of course! It's definitely worth it! Wait! No Paint! - I highly recommend it! You'll enjoy it.
Read more of Susan's reviews.
Readers might enjoy another wacky take on The Three Pigs.
Best Children's Books - Find, Read or Write home page.