Beloved children’s author and illustrator Mark Teague answers our questions about summer reading and his new book, The Three Little Pigs and the Somewhat Bad Wolf.
Q | Why did you choose to rewrite a classic fairy tale?
A | I loved fairy tales as a kid and I returned to them as a parent, sometimes reading them in books, sometimes just telling them to my kids at bedtime. I think one of the reasons fairy tales endure is because they’re so odd. We puzzle over them and that leads to retellings and lots of variations.
Q | Of all the classics to retell, why The Three Little Pigs?
A | The Three Little Pigs was my daughters’ favorite, but they never liked the ending, where the wolf ends up in the soup pot. Neither did I. He’s just being a wolf, after all. If he has any real fault in the story, it’s his foolishness in thinking he can blow down a brick house.
Q | What does summer reading look like in your house?
A | My daughters have moved on to The Hunger Games trilogy and more sophisticated fare, but they were great readers even when they were little. I guess it helped that I was always getting books as part of my job, but they also loved the classics—and the library was a major summer destination.
Q | Any suggestions to budding writers for summer activities?
A | You don’t need much—paper and pencil (with an eraser) and some free time. Boredom was my friend as a kid. Free time without much distraction helps a mind wander. A wandering mind leads to stories.