Pigs in Sheds by Peter Millett
Once upon a sty, three little pigs lived in a poky little pen in Pokeno.
So begins the latest offering from author Peter Millett, offering up another unique New Zealand spin on a beloved children's story.
The book is a cheeky down-under version of the much-loved fable The Three Little Pigs. This time the three perky porkers are being chased by a sneaky sheepdog who's out to eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Pigs in Sheds is Fred Dagg crossed with a traditional fable, with some Kiwi DIY and number 8 wire thrown in too.
Millett has performed this story live with children for more than a decade, but this is the first time it's appeared in print.
He is well known for his retellings, with The Anzac Biscuit Man, Moa's Ark, and Humpty Rugby just a handful of some of his previous offerings.
Pigs in Sheds faithfully follows the same plotline as The Three Little Pigs; pig builds house, villain blows it down, pigs win in the end. But Millett mixes it up with some gold old Kiwiana and a surprising, and funny, ending.
Illustrated by Shaun Yeo, the freelance cartoonist uses his skills to create fun, expressive characters. The sheepdog, aka the wolf in the traditional telling, is quite clearly the villain, but isn't too scary looking for younger readers.
Yeo's scenery is instantly recognisable as New Zealand - with baches, seagulls and pōhutukawa in full bloom.
It's always fun to see stories retold with a local lens, but sometimes it can be a little too cliche. Fortunately Millett remains faithful to the original while also tweaking just enough components to make it a fun and funny Kiwi twist. Reviewed by: Rebekah Lyell Bateman Books, RRP $19.99