Because it breaks stereotypes with a simple reversal. When I read stories, I often make gender switches in my head, to reveal the kinds of characteristics and plotlines we’ve heard so many times that we just take them for granted as something believable or successful. Anytime a story does the shake up for me, inspiring a jaded reader to think in a new way, I’m grateful. Next to the helpless, passive princess, wolves are probably the most maligned creature in fairy tale world. (About ten years a go, another writer made the same kind of connection when she compiled an anthology of myths about brave female protagonists called Women who Run with the Wolves.)
In the first scene of Three Little Wolves, we see these wolves as vulnerable, they are shown with their mother, described as cuddly, with soft fur and fluffy tails. Their mother urges them to go out in the world with the warning, “But beware of the big, bad pig.”
The story follows the classic model, describing the wolves’ adventures and challenges as they attempt to build safe homes for themselves, continually destroyed by the malicious, resourceful pig. I highly recommend this book. It’s so funny and poetic, reminiscent of Steig stories, and it has a beautiful ending.