Puffed Out

The three little pigs' guide to a growth mindset

By: Will Hussey , Barry Hymer


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Products specifications
Attribute name Attribute value
Size: 222 x 182mm
Pages : 168
ISBN : 9781785831171
Format: Paperback
Published: February 2017

Puffed Out: The three little pigs’ guide to a growth mindset by Will Hussey and Barry Hymer is a comprehensive catalyst for cultivating a growth mindset.

Schools increasingly value grit, determination, resilience and adaptability as being key to deep learning. But how do you put these values into practice? This innovative approach starts by getting learners to think about a seemingly familiar story in a radically different and creative way. Who knew the story of the three little pigs was so complicated, and so challenging? In fact, for decades adults have even been reading it to infants, as if it were a simple tale for simple kids! The essential plotline: three pigs each build a house. A wolf exposes the limitations of two of the houses through lung power, but the third house remains standing. He attempts to force an entry via the chimney and fails.

This book might seem to be about the three little pigs, but the pigs are just the focus of its real purpose, which is to challenge and encourage learners to immerse themselves in thinking between, above, below, around and beyond the tale’s unexplored blind-spots. Crammed full of activities and diverse open-ended questions, there’s plenty to ponder over, and if they require a nudge or two in the right direction, they’ll find them – although the direction they take depends on which way they’re looking at it. Prompts and responses abound, although it’s not always clear which is which; questions can be answered and answers should be questioned.

Learners will develop the confidence and independence to pursue their own ideas and opinions as they think creatively and cultivate original and innovative responses. Students are encouraged to respond as they see fit, developing key skills transferable to wider areas of the curriculum – and life. This has the added advantage of cultivating intrinsic motivation and a love of learning in the process. The challenges will capture learners’ interest and curiosity by appealing to their sense of fun and nonsense. Word play, puns and writing prompts simultaneously encourage the development of literacy skills. Extension material and helpful nudges mean the activities are self-differentiating and will appeal to all abilities across Key Stages 1–3.

Suitable for primary and lower secondary teachers.

Puffed Out has been named the winner of the Educational Book Award in the 2018 Education Resources Awards.

Judges' comments: “Using a novel approach and a well-known story, Puffed Out by Will Hussey and Barry Hymer, introduces pupils to ethics, philosophy and critical thinking. It is exceedingly witty and will help create fun lessons while introducing pupils to new ways of approaching difficult concepts. It made us laugh and think throughout the judging process.”

Picture for author Will Hussey

Will Hussey

Will Hussey is an experienced teacher and author who writes about thinking ' and spy dogs. Will has a degree in physical and adventure education and reckons that's pretty much how all education should be: sedentary and unadventurous education is not much use to anyone. He's completed three London marathons and the Snowdon marathon. He's vowed never again'. He is (almost) a black belt in karate and has a wife and two children who don't take him too seriously.

Picture for author Barry Hymer

Barry Hymer

Barry Hymer is Emeritus Professor of Psychology in Education at the University of Cumbria and Chief of Science for the leading online chess learning platform, Chessable. Barry has written 11 books and numerous papers on the subject of teaching and learning and he is one of the UK's foremost authorities on the educational applications of mindset theory.

Click here to read Barry Hymer's blog.


  1. This book is immensely useful to junior and secondary school teachers who value a creative and fun approach to learning.  Full of so many ideas to spark imaginative thinking, initiate discussions between pupils, develop creativity and to create classes of critical thinkers.  Children enjoy tasks where there is no right or wrong and these activities are suitable for all abilities and learning styles, as there are many and varied ways to tackle each problem.  Even better, there are unlimited ways to approach the questions and to present ideas, either individually or as pairs or groups.   Teachers could use this book as a daily handbook of growth mind-set activities in ways to suit their own teaching style.  It provides ideal tasks for children to get immediately involved in as they enter the classroom in the morning or after lunch - allowing them to switch on their brains quickly and get fully immersed in enjoyable, funny and thought provoking ponderings, which will certainly help to -˜grow' young brains and support them to feel more confident as they tackle the many challenges that life will throw at them.

    I would urge all teachers who are looking for a new approach to learning and a compendium of unique theme based activities to give this a book a try.
  2. Having heard Will speak about Growth Mindset we ordered a copy of Puffed Out. The many original ideas, linked to the well-known story of the Three Little Pigs quickly appealed to both staff and students. Although aimed at engaging thinking skills in children, many of the questions also engaged adults in heated debate, and this supported our wider work in encouraging staff to test and adopt new ideas and approaches to learning. The structure of the text means that it is easy to dip into for a short activity, or use as a springboard for longer tasks. We also appreciated the fact that the book does not shy away from complex ideas and actively promotes the understanding of new vocabulary. Even though the original text is for young children Puffed Out aims to develop crucial thinking skills and promotes a love of curiosity and learning.
  3. I have used Will's book 'Puffed Out' in many educational settings: in partner, group and whole class situations. I've even used it as an icebreaker and debating tool with adults to stimulate discussion and interaction - the faces of adults from the beginning mentioning we are working on a children's story to begin a session to the strong arguments and counter arguments later were a treat to dive in to! It's remarkable how deep people can go with it and how many unpredictable avenues each activity can take a group.

    I've have recommended this book on many occasion to colleagues and delegates when I have delivered CPD as a 'must-have' tool in an educator's arsenal when talking about growth mindset, conflict management and debating skills - it really does blow the house down!
  4. I am a Form Tutor for Year 6 and plan a thinking activity for my pupils during form time at least twice a week. This gives the children around 20 minutes to complete each activity. The fact that they are already familiar with the story and it is so basic is the key idea - it highlights that there is so much else to consider from such a simple story and is accessible for all pupils. There is nothing else like it on the market and I don't have to spend time introducing them to a scenario each time. The structure of the activity is very clear. We can get straight on with the thinking.

    When I first started using this, pupils would ask me if their ideas were possible. Now they are confident in their thinking to know that they are! Some children work in groups and enjoy sharing their ideas with others to take them further whereas some like to think alone. I am flexible in my approach to facilitate what works well for them.

    The thinking that can come out of this story seems endless and it works beautifully alongside my 6 thinking hats work - we put the green and blue hat on during this task mainly.

    There is much rich discussion to come out of these sessions and I ensure that there is time to feedback after.
  5. Just as Roald Dahl did with Little Red Riding Hood, in exposing her as a pistol-wielding wolf killer rather than the sweet innocent girl we'd all grown up with, so Barry Hymer & Will Hussey have given us a whole new way of looking at the Three Little Pigs.  Actually, they've given us sixty whole new ways to look at the story, from considering the consequences of all your children leaving home at the same time to wondering why the big bad wolf didn't come back for revenge.  In these days of more-is-more, it's good to be reminded how much can come from so little and in such a fun, engaging way. Definitely not a pig in a poke and certainly a wolf in sheep's clothing, this book oozes creative and critical thinking opportunities and will pave the way for new looks at any other story you read, no matter how simple you used to think it was.  
  6. A wonderful combination of humour and deep thinking. A great book for teachers, parents and children to support questioning and really -˜squeeze the juice' out of this familary story. Gives you lots to think and talk about. Highly recommend for Philosophy for Children colleagues. Hope these guys write some more.
  7. Evidence shows that there are an increasing number of young people who have become disillusioned with their life prospects and emotional issues, and who fail to maximise their potential and fall by the wayside. In many of our schools and colleges the emphasis is on change in curriculum options and delivery styles, in an effort to change their mindset from disaffection and complacency. This book will be an asset to staff development as it poses 60 challenges for students which are linked to the three little pigs story. The focus of the challenges is to encourage learners to think “between, above, below, around and beyond the lines” to gain the skills and confidence to promote determination, resilience, desire and resolve to raise performance.

    Learners of all ages will gain from the structure of the challenges into nudges, sticking points and -˜thinkantations'. I particularly valued the challenges poised within the Wolf Street Cred, Pig's Kin, Pig Tale, Pigs and Mortar, and Wood you Believe It chapters. This is an excellent resource to promote personal development, confidence and the learners' own responsibility to take up the challenge of raising performance.
  8. Three little pigs, three houses, one wolf -¦ multiple meanings! Bordering on bonkers, Puffed Out manages to challenge convention, squeezing creativity out of teachers and pupils by applying the principles of growth mindsets, without mentioning growth mindsets. Clever, funny and imaginative: a creative feast.
  9. Puffed Out is completely original. Read it to have all the limits of your imagination blown away! In this guide to growth mindsets the authors have applied their two creative minds to the story of the three little pigs and produced 60 clever and subtle variations on a theme. You can learn about -˜fanger management' or go -˜sow far sow good' or delve into subtle -˜thinkantations'. But don't lose track of a serious argument: exercise the mind in this way and thinking habits go -˜between, above, below, around and beyond the lines'. What next? Your pupils' variations on -˜Goldilocks and the Three Bears' of course!
  10. What a porker! I have never read so many pig puns in my life. The book is so full of critical and creative thinking exercises that teachers could have enough material for a year's activities. However teachers (or parents and carers for that matter) use the book - ten-minute fillers at the beginning or end of lessons, one-off pig projects or extension activities which are a little different (to say the least) - this book offers a wealth of laughter and fun activities which stretch the mind and promote learning.
  11. It's rare to find an educational resource that's as relevant to the primary sector as it is to secondary and which even makes the teacher chuckle on the side! Trying to plunge students straight into -˜deep thinking' can be a tough assignment, but Puffed Out scaffolds the process in an enticing way, starting with a reassuringly familiar stimulus and using it to sail into unfamiliar territory - where hundreds of imaginative and philosophical challenges await. Ignite a spark in your learners and have a blast teaching in the meantime! 
  12. In the manner of Ian Gilbert's Thunks or Philosophy for Children, Hymer and Hussey's 60 variants on a tale you thought you knew will encourage creative, divergent thinking. Written in a breezy, irreverent style - with amusing chapter titles for children and cheeky asides for adults - it could serve as a complete scheme of work, or something to pleasurably dip in and out of. Rather than simply telling youngsters about mindset theory, Puffed Out enables students to strengthen their mindset muscles in practice.
  13. Puffed Out is a very neat idea. It shows how it is possible to take a single story, -˜The Three Little Pigs', and to magnify mega discussions around big ideas. A stimulus carefully pondered and expanded in this way can provide hours, if not weeks, of productive speculation, debate and thinking.
  14. A philosophical and critical romp through the story of the three little pigs, written in a witty, playful and thought-provoking manner. Puffed Out opens up the door to matters ranging from climate change to direct action, political systems to issues of personal and social responsibility. A rich resource.

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