Ziggy heads to the beach as the three disapproving pigs prepare for the wolf, but it's Ziggy's "outside the box" thinking that saves the day.
In fear of a visit from the Big Bad Wolf the three little pigs improve the 'security' of their, straw, stick and brick homes. Ziggy happily sleeps under the stars. The other three scornfully reject Ziggy's carefree invitation to go swimming. When the wolf blows apart all three homes, the pigs run to the beach. There, Ziggy provides a brilliant lesson in "thinking outside the box" (It's also a lesson for advocates of U.S. "Homeland Security").
A little girl wants to be as dynamic as the wind, and we see the fun things to know about wind.
A young girl notices how the wind zooms down hillsides, races through streets, and scatters seeds. It helps birds, butterflies and baby spiders soar. It snaps sheets and flags, drives rain and sailboats and more. "I want to play like a windy day." she thinks. Asch's bright illustrations mix depth and two dimensional objects in a way some may find surreal. He successfully makes the wind seem like a mischievous little girl, entertaining and benevolent.
Asch encourages children to appreciate several interesting ways the Sun affects our lives.
In verse that matches the appropriate illustrations, we can see from a child's bed, "It comes to my window and wakes me up." Later, seeing the evening moon, "Even in the night, it sends some light to keep me company." The sun's 'absence' during a pelting rain is well selected. From this starting point, parents can show their children other ways to appreciate the sun.
Baby Bear's Mum satisfies his 'before bed' needs so he can sleep/hibernate.
Baby Bear cannot settle into hibernation. Mother Bear has to get him a snack, a drink (water dripped from a branch) and the moon they used to sleep under! The solution to the latter problem is smart. At last, Baby Bear asks for (not another thing!) a good night kiss (that's nice) and they both fall asleep. Overall the story is uninspiring, and VM suggests children could fall asleep with better 'visions'.
With prejudice, Moonbear and Bird want a pet to grow into their own kind, but when it becomes a frog they realize they were wrong.
Bear's new pet 'Splash' seems to be a fish, until she sprouts limbs. In 'racist' disagreement, Bear and Bird expect her to become their own kind. Their friendship dissolves, so Splash is returned to her pond. Later, Splash proves to be a frog, who suggests everyone should just be friends. And so, they are. Bear and Bird's (contrived) behavior is foreign to the audience age group. Further, Asch presents friendship as an empty platitude.
A loaf of French bread is used in improbable ways as an 'imaginative' solution to unlikely problems.
A baguette is used to prop open a threatening alligator's mouth, as a baton, as a gun to stop a mugger, and as a pole for rescues. Finally Mr. Saguette eats it and gives the crumbs to the birds. Yes, it's something of a spoofy use of imagination, and some children will find it entertaining. Surely children deserve a more inspiring portrayal of imagination and inventiveness —dealing with the Real World they are trying to understand.
Mountain echoes convince Bear the moon talks to him, then similar contrivances result in their 'exchanging' birthday gifts.
Bear decides the Moon should have a birthday, and travels to a mountain-top so he can ask what it wants. Asch carefully chooses Bear's wording to the moon, so that mountain echoes appear to offer answers. Similar contrivances give Bear and Moon the same birthday, with both wanting a hat, which they appear to exchange, and then lose. Though well-liked, the story's reliance on artifice takes unfair advantage of a child's credulity.
Baby Duck breaks family safety rules and survives various dangers, all without consequence.
Foolishly mistaking a plastic ducky as an 'adult', Baby Duck follows it outside his safe limits. Escaping several dangers until lost and upset, he flies home on his first try. Asked if he broke the safety rules, he replies, "Oh no, I was with my new friend." This, and that his mama plans to teach him to fly, are supposed to be amusing, but the story is too approving of foolish innocence.