The Three Little Pigs meets Honey, I Shrunk the Kids in Jennifer Repta’s very slim, 11-page picture book, The Three Little Houses.
Here, three siblings called Kaitlyn, Kevin and Jennifer decide to wile away a homework-free day by seeing who can design and construct the best miniature house from materials on hand. Jennifer drapes silk over a high heel for an imaginative abode. Kevin builds a geometric structure using UNO cards. And Kaitlyn constructs a substantial “dream home, a LEGO Friends Villa,” with pink plastic bricks.
But strangely, as soon as the trio completes the building of their “toy homes,” they find that they have shrunk to the scale of the diminutive dwellings. Before they can take this in, or have adventures or fun with this surprising situation, they are faced with an emergency: Their full-sized Mom enters bearing a swooshing vacuum cleaner and an attitude that the children are at fault for leaving their toys around to trip their mother.
In actions reminiscent of the Three Little Pigs, the children are forced to escape the flimsy scarf-and-shoe abode and then the house of cards. Finally – to the delight of Kaitlyn, who has felt underappreciated in the family – they find more substantial safety in her villa made of plastic bricks. Here, they gain the attention of their mother, who not only rescues them from her vacuum but softens her attitude toward them, too. She also offers an explanation for — and means to reverse — the shrinking.
Repetition is used effectively and child-like drawings by the author are cute, although not up to the standards of professional illustration. Overall, imitativeness rather than originality is the keynote here.
Nevertheless as a volume published to raise funds for a church in Niles, Illinois, it serves its purpose and should reward readers who are contributing to this worthy cause.
Also available as an ebook.