Moral instruction in the form of short stories, nursery rhymes and “fairy tales” is a common tradition in most cultures. In the West in particular, many children grow up learning stories from Aesop’s Fables or other derived literature such as “The Tortoise & The Hare” or “The Old Woman in the Shoe”. The trouble with these pedagogical traditions is that they often rely upon magical or other irrational characters or premises to tell the story and teach the lesson. That or, even worse, the original moral intent has been lost or confounded in modern retellings and there either is no principle at root or the one evoked has to do with some commie catchall such as “sharing is caring.”
A good friend seeks to rid the world of such childish flim-flam and bestow well-reasoned and entertainingly told moral tales upon our cultural heritage with a new series she is writing. The first of her efforts, The Three Little Pigs: Or, To Survive We Must Plan… and Work, has just been published and as I read several drafts before publication I can say without reservation that she is off to a promising start.
As the author, Roslyn Ross, mentions in the foreword,
This version of the Three Little Pigs is unlike any other–it is clear, rational, and value-oriented. Specifically this version is different in that: -It has death in it. Most other versions of The Three Little Pigs available today shy away from this reality of life, the very value this story was intended to teach: Those who fail to plan for their survival … often don’t survive. It does not serve children to hide reality from them, so this version of the story deals plainly with death.
Yes, the story has anthropomorphic pigs, anthropomorphic pigs who talk in rhyming verse, no less. But this was a creative decision made purposefully by Roslyn because she feared that if she scrapped the animals from the story entirely it’d be TOO unfamiliar to the parents who grew up with such nonsense and thus they might miss her story entirely when searching for this kind of material for her children.
Roslyn also had the story illustrated with her own commissioned artist. The result is a story that is both literally and visually original.
We are big fans of Roslyn Ross’s parenting philosophy at A House Rises, which she has most recently outlined in her first book, the misleadingly titled “A Theory of Objectivist Parenting” and which she continues to develop, explain and exemplify on her personal blog, Raising Children Is An Act of Philosophy. (We hope to either convince her to adopt the WordPress medium for her blogging efforts or convince her to join us in our effort!) We will be posting a summary review of Roslyn’s parenting theory book for those short on time or hesitant to devote an hour to reading the whole book on a mere recommendation.
For now, we’re just excited to see Roslyn’s latest effort come to fruition and we’re looking forward to seeing the other planned installments in the series and eventually incorporating them into the educational curriculum of our own children.