Miss Understood by Kathryn Apel and illustrated by Beau Wylie is a fractured fairy tale and is a brilliant book to use when exploring perspective to consider a traditional fairy tale (in this case ‘The Three Little Pigs’) from a different point of view. Miss Understood is told from the wolf’s perspective and is a telling of her version of events. She claims “those Little Pigs told you a porker” and the sweet and innocent wolf is here to set the record straight once and for all.

Could it be that the wolf is indeed misunderstood, could readers have been biased in forming their opinions about the wolf and have the wrong idea about her – there’s always two sides to every story, isn’t there?

In this rollicking rhyming picture book, the reader is introduced to a wolf that appears good hearted, innocent and is kind and generous to the three smug looking pigs. The wolf approaches Pig’s hay house bearing sweet gifts. The unwelcoming pig, completely aware of the wolf’s allergies, slams the door in wolf’s face. The hay from the home becomes airborne because he slammed the door so hard and this triggers the wolf’s allergy. The wolf is desperate to stifle this and tries everything in her power to curtail the symptoms, but all to no avail and the damage is done. Miss Understood feels dreadful and wants to apologise for her actions which were beyond her control and truth be told were actually caused by Pig.     

Miss Understood is unable to apologise to Pig as Pig flees the destruction and spreads “lies” about the course of events. This sets Miss Understood on a course of misadventure, none of which is her fault, but results in a series of calamities. The Pigs were quick to spread the word that Big Bad Wolf was after them. The Pigs are ruthless and tell their story wide and far, leaving the wolf lonely, isolated, feared and unfairly accused of crimes she did not commit. This leaves wolf with a damaged reputation when really she is misunderstood.

This book contains clever rhyme, wonderful sense of rhythm, puns and idioms which add to the humour in this very clever story.

Beau Wylie’s highly expressive and lively illustrations enrich the narrative providing further clues about the relationship between Miss Understood and the Pigs. Children and adults alike will delight in the glorious detail in the illustrations which offer something new to discover each time this book is revisited. The endpapers are not to be missed as this is where Miss Understood’s story truly begins and ends.

This is a brilliant rendition to showcase how we see situations through the lens of our own experiences and the importance of considering situations from another’s point of view. This humourous twist on a classic fairy tale will have readers wondering about new possibilities as they are reacquainted with this classic from a new and refreshing perspective.  

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