The 3 Little Dassies
The 3 Little Dassies

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Annotation: In this adaptation of the traditional folktale, three little dassies (also called rock hyraxes) build their houses in the Namib Desert of Southern Africa, hoping for protection from the eagle that lives atop a nearby mountain.
Genre: Fairy tales
Catalog Number: #47550
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Copyright Date: 2010
Edition Date: 2010
Pages: 32
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 0-399-25499-4 Perma-Bound: 0-605-48048-6
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-399-25499-4 Perma-Bound: 978-0-605-48048-3
Dewey: 398.2
LCCN: 2009043657
Dimensions: 28 cm.
Subject Heading:
Language: English
ALA Booklist
First things first: dassies, or rock hydraxes, are small mammals native to sub-Saharan Africa. In this "Three Little Pigs" adaptation, three dassies strike out to make new homes. While Timbi takes the time to construct a solid stone dwelling, hasty siblings Mimbi and Pimbi use grass and sticks, respectively. After being pursued by an eagle, the dassies' natural predator (playing the wolf's traditional role here), Mimbi and Pimbi find shelter at Timbi's, where a blast from the chimney sends the villainous bird "home for a nap," wrapping up the tale with a nonviolent end. The familiar plotline is extended in the intricate watercolor-and-gouache artwork in Brett's signature triptych layout: each central panel reflects the action described in the text, while wordless panels on either side show equally involving scenes, all handsomely framed by depictions of cloth, beadwork, and vegetation. Brett invokes the African setting with details of the desert landscape and the animals' colorful, patterned clothing. The last page turns the story into an inspired pourquoi tale about dassies' habitat and the sootlike coloring of native eagles.
Horn Book
Set in Namibia, this enjoyable riff on "The Three Little Pigs" stars three dassies--furry, rabbit-sized creatures--who set up housekeeping near a mountain and find their lives threatened by a big, bad eagle ("I'll flap and I'll clap and I'll blow your house in!"). Brett uses an eye-catching variety of multicolored patterns, with side panels helping to tell the story.
Kirkus Reviews
Mashing up the ever-popular English story of "The Three Little Pigs" with her Namibian experiences, Brett uses her magical watercolor-and-gouache paintings to create a distinctive visual world. Dassies (rock hyraxes) live among the reddish stones of this desert-like country. Soft and cuddly, they have a predator in the black eagles that live above, and they come together in an original version of the story, complete with a grass house, a stick house and a stone house built by each of three dassie sisters. The first two are taken (fear not, it's only temporary) by a white eagle, but when he tries to "flap and clap and blow" the stone house in, he fails. When he tries the chimney route, the fire burns his feathers, turning him into the black eagle seen today. The animal characters sport adaptations of Western clothing that are seen in Namibia today, down to the turbans worn by the Herero women since Victorian times. The dress prints from the clothing also appear in the illustrator's trademark borders around each two-page spread. Beguiling. (Picture book. 4-8)
Publishers Weekly
This offering is classic Brett: meticulously rendered animal characters, an authentically depicted setting, ornate borders, action-filled side panels, and lively storytelling. This version of The Three Little Pigs takes place in southern Africa, where three dassies%E2%80%94small native mammals also called rock hyraxes%E2%80%94bid adieu to their family and set out %E2%80%9Cto find their own place.%E2%80%9D After crossing the Namib Desert in a tortoise-pulled wagon, sisters Mimbi, Pimbi, and Timbi reach a mountain where they agree to settle down. They%E2%80%99re welcomed by an agama lizard, who mentions that an eagle, an enemy to dassies, lives nearby. After this predator destroys two of the dassies%E2%80%99 houses and carries the dassies to his nest, the lizard rescues them and helps outwit the bird. Brett (The Easter Egg) dresses her dassies in the vibrantly patterned traditional dresses and turbans of the Herero people of Namibia. The eagle and lizard are nattily attired in hats and colorful menswear%E2%80%94but even the suspenders, straw hat, and checked pants of the eagle don%E2%80%99t lessen the menace of his talons. A buoyant and original reimagining. Ages 3%E2%80%935. (Sept.)
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2&12; Brett's sumptuous retelling of "The Three Little Pigs" is set in southern Africa and stars three small guinea-pig-like creatures that live in rock crevices in the Namib desert. The three dassies, garbed in traditional African dresses and turbans, are harassed by an eagle, who, like the wolf in the traditional tale, wants them for supper. He flies to the dassies' houses made of grass and sticks and screeches, "I'll flap and I'll clap and I'll blow your house in!" then captures them and plops them into his nest. On the side panels another story develops with a brightly dressed lizard, the Agama Man, who is intent on rescuing the little creatures. Children will enjoy following both stories and will linger on each page following the exacting detail of the setting: the desert, the characters, the decorative borders, and all the small touches in between. This tale will captivate children and introduce a setting and animals unfamiliar to most of them.&12; Carrie Rogers-Whitehead, Kearns Library, UT
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
ALA Booklist (9/1/10)
Horn Book (4/1/11)
Kirkus Reviews
Publishers Weekly
School Library Journal (10/1/10)
Wilson's Children's Catalog
Word Count: 893
Reading Level: 3.7
Interest Level: P-2
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 3.7 / points: 0.5 / quiz: 140211 / grade: Lower Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:3.4 / points:1.0 / quiz:Q57539
Lexile: AD630L

The Three Little Pigs with a twist! In the tradition of her bestseller The Three Snow Bears, Jan Brett finds inspiration for her version of a familiar story in Namibia, where red rock mountains and vivid blue skies are home to appealing little dassies and hungry eagles.

Mimbi, Pimbi and Timbi hope to find "a place cooler, a place less crowded, a place safe from eagles!" to build their new homes. The handsomely dressed Agama Man watches from the borders as the eagle flies down to flap and clap until he blows a house down. But in a deliciously funny twist, that pesky eagle gets a fine comeuppance!

Bold African patterns and prints fill the stunning borders, but it is the dassies in their bright, colorful dresses and hats that steal the show in this irresistible tale, perfect for reading aloud.

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