Today’s Wonder of the Day takes a fresh look at that vile fairy tale villain, the Big Bad Wolf. You know the one. He terrorized the Three Little Pigs and blew down their houses of straw and sticks.

His big eyes and big teeth also gave Little Red Riding Hood quite a scare when she discovered what he’d done with her poor old grandmother. As fairy tale villains go, the Big Bad Wolf has a fairly nasty reputation.

But is he really all that bad? Are all the stories about him true? Or could they be fabrications meant to sully his good name? For example, could the story of the Three Little Pigs be nothing more than pro-pork propaganda pushed by a group with an anti-wolf agenda?

Jon Scieszka’s 1989 book, The True Story of the Three Little Pigs, makes a good case for giving the Big Bad Wolf a closer look. Perhaps his run-in with the Three Little Pigs was nothing more than a misunderstanding blown (pun totally intended) way out of proportion.

After all, there are two sides to every story, right? If you have brothers or sisters, we’re sure you agree with that old saying. When you get into an argument with your siblings and it’s time to explain things to Mom or Dad, there are usually as many stories as there are people involved!

Whether or not the Big Bad Wolf was really that bad or not isn’t ultimately important, since he’s just a fictional character. But what is important is to remember that every story you hear or read is told from a particular perspective.

Before you believe everything you hear or read, you should carefully consider the source of the information. Do your own research if you need to. Don’t automatically take everything you hear or read as truth, just because you see it in print or hear it on the radio or television.

Some people may try to persuade you to believe something because it helps them in some way. Others may not be trying to deceive you, but they may fail to include all relevant information you need to make an informed decision.

So what about the Big Bad Wolf? Was he really that big and bad? Maybe. Some historians argue that these old fables had practical purposes. In the past, wolves were dangerous and the risk of attacks in the woods was real. Fables such as the story of Little Red Riding Hood could have served as a warning to children not to explore unknown forests where wolves might live.

54 Join the Discussion

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    • What a SUPER conclusion you’ve come to, Mrs. Foster’s class! We think you’ve done a GREAT job of thinking about the story and searching for another meaning within it. We are so excited that you have shared your WONDERful comment with us today! We hope you have a WONDERful weekend using your imagination! :)

    • YIPPEE, Jeovany, your comment has us dancing with joy today! We are SUPER excited that you enjoy WONDERing with us, and we can’t wait go exploring with you again– there is so much WONDERing to do! Have a WONDERful day! :)

    • Happy Friday to you, WONDERman! We are giving you two thumbs WAY up for your SUPER comment! Thanks for WONDERing with us about that big bad wolf… we don’t think he’s all that bad, ourselves! Have a WONDERful day using your imagination! See you soon! :)

  1. Hi Wonderopolis! That is a good point, I never thought about it that way!! Oh, by the way, I
    think tomorrow’s wonder will be about the sea!
    Catch you tomorrow!!

    • We are so glad you used your imagination and learned about perspective with us today, Zachary! It’s so WONDERful that we can learn something new together! You have a SUPER guess for tomorrow… we can’t wait to discover what tomorrow’s Wonder will bring! See you soon! :)

  2. Dear Wonderopolis,

    We enjoyed yarnstorming so much that we did it on the leg of our teacher’s desk!

    We have lots of predictions for tomorrow:
    1) Ancient Athens, Greece (where the olympics were founded)
    2) The first museum for kids
    3) The first movie theater
    4) The first zoo
    5) Outer space

    We look forward to catching up on all the weekend wonders on Monday. Have a good weekend!

    Ms. Davidson’s Third Grade

    • WOW, we think that is one cool, unique chair! It will never be chilly in the winter thanks to those AWESOME students in Ms. Davidson’s class!! :) We Wonder if you can post a photo of your yarnstormed chair on our Facebook page for all our Wonder Friends to see ( :)

      Thank you for sharing your SUPER guesses– all of these ideas are WONDERful in their own way. We are so proud of your students who are doing a great job of using context clues! Thanks for guessing and joining us as we Wonder! Have an AWESOME weekend, Wonder Friends! :)

  3. I have watched a movie called Hoodwinked that showed the wolf’s perspective in the fable of Little Red Riding Hood.
    I think that some people fabricate tall tales to gain trust so they can take advantage of others. This Wonder really opened my eyes to tragic ways of the world.
    I believe tomorrow’s Wonder will be about the earth or the universe.

    • You have done a STELLAR job of looking and listening to both sides of the story, Tori! Way to go! :) Sometimes it takes a little bit longer for perspective to settle in, and we are very happy that you have come to such a great conclusion about the importance of listening to the ENTIRE story!

      You have a great guess for tomorrow’s Wonder… it may not be as far out as you imagine…! :)

  4. In my opinion, I believe every child’s tale had a purpose, a hidden message to imprint on a child’s mind. I usually think they’re meant to be good lessons though, or at least with the best intentions. For instance as you wrote, to keep children from wondering into the forest alone where danger hides. Hansel and Gretel, not to wonder about either. For the three little pigs, I believe it’s to show children that although the harder way (such as building a house with brick) isn’t easy, but it definitely pays off in the end. Like not getting your house blown away!

    • What a great understanding of the purpose of fairy tales, Krystal! We love that you are WONDERing about the importance of meanings within stories! Thank you for commenting on our Wonder today! :)

    • Hi there, awesome Wonder Friend! We are so excited that you enjoyed our Wonder today– it’s great to show your enthusiasm for your favorite howling animal! :)

  5. You read the true story of the big bad wolf, that was my favorite book to read when I was in 4th. I also read a book called The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig.The solution was to let the pig be nice. Sorry I didn’t do any comments over the weekend, I had to do lots of school work. :)

    • Those books sound like a super fun way to spend a day reading, Carlos! We are so glad that you’re discovering new books that help you Wonder and make you smile! We hope your school work is going well and you’re excited to start a WONDERful new school year! :)

    • Thank you for your AWESOME comment, Cody! We are super excited that you’ve enjoyed WONDERing about fairy tales with us, and that it made you chuckle, too! Thank you for WONDERing with us today! :)

  6. I think that the next wonder will be about the earth, rocks, lava (have been around since the earth, I think even before the Big Bang), water, or the Milky Way.

    Hope it’s right!

    • Hehehe, we like to hear that you are smiling about our Big Bad Wolf Wonder, Clara! Thanks for joining us today, Wonder Friend!! :)

  7. Hey Tori, I love that movie!

    Anywho, wow… I haven’t been on in, well, forever!
    Great wondering Wonder Team.
    I love the website! Keep up all the wonders!

    • Welcome back, Jordan! We are so happy that you and Tori have both seen the same WONDERful movie! We are glad that you’ve been enjoying our Wonders and we really appreciate your comment! Thank you for your kind and awesome comment, Wonder Friend! :)

    • Hi there, Eric! Is there anything in particular you liked in this Wonder… we enjoyed thinking outside the box when it came to the big bad wolf and the three little pigs! :)

  8. Wolves aren’t actually all that big and bad they are actually trying to protect themselves because I know TONS about wolves and they are my favorite animal.

    • Thanks for sharing your comment about wolves today, Kimber! We think you make a great point, and it’s important to remember that animals live in an environment where they must protect themselves from other dangers! Great job, Wonder Friend! :)

    • Very cool, Mandy! Thanks for sharing your comment– we love when our Wonder Friends can discuss their favorite animals, topics and Wonders together! :)

  9. Aww that has to be the most cute video ever that I have seen. Sometimes I tell my sister who is 3 that if she does not eat her dinner the “big bad wolf” will come and eat her dessert she eats it like there is no tomorrow when I say that!!! Anyways I agree with Kimber they just defend themselves. I LOVE wolves thet are my favorite animal and horses too! Get back to me soon.

    From: Avery

    • Just like your younger sister, we bet the big bad wolf has the effect on a lot of people, Avery! We’re glad you liked our Wonder video about the fairytale character, the big bad wolf! We’re so happy that you and Wonder Friend Kimber agree that wolves are defending themselves out in the wild. We hope you have a SUPER day! :)

  10. I really do not like the big bad wolf stories because I LOVE wolves! At school my friends call me wolf girl I love wolves so much! I can not stand the end of “Little Red Riding Hood” when the woodsmen cuts open the wolf. It’s so sad for me. :(

  11. Dear Wonderopolis, wolves would never hurt or harm a human. Wolves are wild but unhurt fully. Nice WONDER comment today.

    • Hey Kate, it sounds like you’re a big fan of wolves! Perhaps your school’s mascot is a wolf?!

      We are so glad you’ve been WONDERing with us about all kinds of topics, from animals to letters to art! Thanks for visiting us and sharing your awesome comments. We can’t wait to Wonder with you again! :)

  12. Wow that’s so cool! There is one type of endangered wolf though the RED WOLF they are beautiful and is about to be hunted to extinction!

    • Hey there, Wolfy! We are glad you enjoyed our Wonder about the Big Bad Wolf… we Wonder if you have heard of the different programs to help the red wolf avoid extinction and prevent it from being endangered for long? :)

    • Hey there, Yay Man! Thanks for telling us how you felt after watching our big bad wolf video! We’re so glad you’re here today! :)

  13. I really think you should have an article on real wolves. It made me upset to see that you don’t have an article about that. If you do and they where under a different name please tell me. I really adore wolves and I like this website!

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Have you ever wondered…

  • Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf?
  • Are there really two sides to every story?
  • What other fairy tale villains might be misunderstood?

Wonder Gallery

Try It Out

What other fictional characters get a bad rap? The witch from Hansel and Gretel? What about the giant from Jack and the Beanstalk?

Do these two characters or any others you know about have a different story to tell? Are they misunderstood? How would they tell their stories?

Pick out a fictional villain from a favorite fable or fairy tale and tell his or her — or its — story from a new perspective. When you’re finished, post your story on Facebook for all your Wonder Friends to read. We can’t wait to read your new twist on an old tale!

Still Wondering

Was the Big Bad Wolf really all that bad? ReadWriteThink’s The Big Bad Wolf: Analyzing Point of View in Texts lesson encourages children to analyze multiple viewpoints and view texts from different angles.

Wonder What’s Next?

Tomorrow Wonderopolis takes a trip to the place that’s been there the longest!

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