cover image The 3 Little Dassies

The 3 Little Dassies

Jan Brett, Putnam, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-399-25499-4

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.)