Reviews for Three Little Dassies

Booklist Reviews 2010 September #1
"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." Copyright 2010 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2011 Spring
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. Copyright 2011 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2010 August #2
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)

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2010 August #5

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--small native mammals also called rock hyraxes--bid adieu to their family and set out "to find their own place." 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're welcomed by an agama lizard, who mentions that an eagle, an enemy to dassies, lives nearby. After this predator destroys two of the dassies' 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--but even the suspenders, straw hat, and checked pants of the eagle don't lessen the menace of his talons. A buoyant and original reimagining. Ages 3-5. (Sept.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2010 October

PreS-Gr 2--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.--Carrie Rogers-Whitehead, Kearns Library, UT

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