Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A Triune Tale of Diminutive Swine

42 pages / 2012
by John Branyan

What if the Three Little Pigs was retold in Shakespearean English? And what if the third pig, just to mix things up a bit, spoke good ol' American English? Wouldn't that be the best fairytale ever?

A Triune Tale is purportedly a children's book, but it would be best appreciated by adults. And it might be of the greatest benefit to high school English students who don't yet appreciate Shakespeare's vast 54,000 word working vocabulary. (As author John Branyan points out in the comedic stand-up bit that inspired the book, that is a stark contrast to the 3,000 word working vocabulary of the modern North American.) How could any student not appreciate this display of verbal variety?

In time, there HAPPENED along, as is frequently the scenario in classic tales of PROTAGONIST PIGLETS or RED-HOODED CHILD, 


CARNIVOROUS NATURE in full season, he called out to the STRAW-ENSCONCED swine, saying,


Pig NUMBERED FIRST recalled with sage foreboding that it is the MADMAN who trust in the tameness of the BELLY-PINCHED wolf. His reply in earnest,


I read this to my four-year-old, and while she enjoyed it, that was probably only because she likes seeing her dad laugh. This is a fantastically fun book to read out loud, with the screeching pigs and howling wolf speaking thisly and thusly. So it's very high on my list of best picture books, but it hasn't cracked her top 100.

            This this could be a great tool for a high school English teacher. For those of us who hated Shakespeare in school – why couldn't this guy just write in real English? – one can only wonder what might have been, if only we had first been exposed to a Shakespearean English tale that was laugh-out-loud funny. I'm quite sure this would have helped.
            You can order copies at http://jbcomedy.webflow.io/john-branyan-store. You also find there a video of the original 8-minute comedic bit which spawned the book, which you can also see below.

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