Wednesday, 28 May 2008


Two different editions of the illustrated story adaptation of the cartoon Three Little Pigs were published by two different publishers in in 1933, the year of the cartoon's release. Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf, titled after the popular tune of the cartoon, was published by David McKay Co. and featured b&w illustrations only (cover scan in yesterday's post). I have seen only soft-cover prints of that book, but it has been reported to be also published in hardcover as well. The other edition, titled straightforwardly as Three Little Pigs, was a hardcover from Blue Ribbons Books and featured color as well as b&w illustrations, with the b&w material being identical to the ones in McKay's Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf. The first image below is from the reverse of the front cover and the rest are from the pages:
I think the above image is especially terrific; I wonder who was the artist for these illustrations (Disney researcher Alberto Becattini credits the artwork on this book to Tom Wood who headed the Disney publicity department at the time). It should also be noted that the illustration with the wolf disguised as peddler is from a scene which was self-censored out of the cartoon after its first release on the grounds it featured a Jewish stereotype.

Of the two different editions, this hardcover Blue Ribbon Book with color illustrations seems to have been picked up by overseas publishers for their own domestic editions. Below are covers of the British, Italian and the French editions. Note that the French edition features a revised cover art where Hachette seems to be unhappy with the less-visible figure of the Big Bad Book in the original version and replace it with a new drawing of their own:

The cartoon Big Bad Wolf (1934), the first sequel to Three Little Pigs, also spawned two different editions of illustrated story books in the same year as the cartoon's release. McKay's edition was titled as Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf and once again featured only b&w illustrations. The hardcover Blue Ribbon Book was titled as The Big Bad Wolf and Little Red Riding Hood and once again featured color as well as b&w illustrations.

Once again, the Blue Ribbon version was picked up by overseas publishers for their domestic editions. The below four scans are from the French edition (which carries a 1934 copyright but appears to be published in 1936).

I am very much fond of this map from the reverse sides of the covers (which, unfortunately did not fit my scanner entirely); 1 is the house of the Little Red Riding Hood, 2 the house of the Three Little Pigs, 3 the lair of the Big Bad Wolf, 4-6 are the various locations where the wolf attempts to get the girl and 7 is the house of her grandmother:

Wolf in drag!; we are all accustomed to the idea of the wolf in grandma's dress, but wolf in drag as a fairy (!) is somewhat a more uncanny sight, with perhaps queer connotations...

Hachette also published another edition in 1936, with pop-ups, titled simply as Les trois petit cochons (Three Little Pigs); I am eager to know if there were any original US editions of this pop-up book.

Unlike the first two cartoons, each of which had span-off two different editions by different publishers, the second sequel, Three Little Wolves (1936) span-off only the book whose cover image is below:

It is a slim but oversized publication (hence the above scan is actually missing the bottom portion) carrying a 1937 copyright and, even though I cannot find any publisher's name in the poor-condition copy I have, is often listed as being from Whitman. It seems to be a pretty rare item, apparently even rarer than one of the editions of the 1933 book. Below is a generous sample of color illustrations from it:

In addition to these books adapted from the cartoons featuring himself as the main antagonist, Big Bad Wolf made cameo appearances in two further illustrated story books published in 1939: School Days in Disneyville and Donald Duck and His Friends, both part of D.C. Heath's series of 'early reader' books featuring Disney characters.
School Days in Disneyville has an interesting narrative where Mickey, Donald and the Little Pigs are portrayed as school kids! In one episode, Donald makes Pluto scare the pigs on the way home from school as they mistake his roar with that of the Big Bad Wolf, who incidentally also happens to be in the vicinity.:

Big Bad Wolf makes another appearance in the last episode of the book as he is chased away Ferdinand the Bull in an end-of-term school picnic:

On the other hand, Donald Duck and His Friends' narrative is largely composed of very abridged adaptations of various cartoons and one of these stories is Three Little Wolves (1936):

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