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THE 3 LITTLE DASSIES

Author: Jan Brett

Illustrator: Jan Brett

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Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group,

Material: hard cover

Summary: Mimbi, Pimbi, and Timbi (African dassies) are getting ready to leave home. They've gone off to search for the perfect home - one that is less crowded, is cooler, and also is safe from eagles. Upon finding the spot they want to call home, they meet Agama Man (a turtle). He has lived in this spot for a long time ... with the eagles. The sisters were a little nervous, but the place was so perfect for them. They each built a house to their liking ... only to have the eagle snatch Mimbi and Pimbi away. Could Timbi rescue her sisters? This is an African retelling of the classic story of the Three Little Pigs.

Type of Reading: bedtime story, family reading, playtime reading, read aloud book

Recommended Age: read together: 3 to 7; read yourself: 9 and Up

Interest Level: 3 to 8

Reading Level: 3.7

Age of Child: Read by an 8-year-old girl.

Young Reader Reaction: The cute little dassies are what attracted my daughter to the book, but she spent hours looking at the illustrations. She instantly recognized the parallel to the Three Little Pigs and didn't wish to read it again. But she did look at the pictures over and over.

Adult Reader Reaction: What a clever take on the Three Little Pigs. I thoroughly enjoyed the story (and the illustrations), and wished we could have done more to contrast and compare the well-known version and the place/characters/events in this one. But given that my daughter was more interested in reading it herself, I couldn't get a conversation started. This is a book that has potential for first-grade readers.

Pros: Bright colors, three cute dassies, and a sense of the familiar make this a fun story for families to share.

Cons: None, though you're likely to get a better result with a younger reader.

Borrow or Buy: Borrow, at least. This is a fun book to share and read aloud.

If You Liked This Book, Try: THIS LITTLE PIGGY   THE STORY OF FROG BELLY RAT BONE   INTERRUPTING CHICKEN

Educational Themes: This is a twist on a classic children's story. With younger audiences it is fun just to read and talk about choices and consequences (just as we did with the straw, stick, and brick houses). With older audiences, you can contrast/compare this version with others and/or explore more about what dassies are, the kind of environment they lived in, etc. It could open a discussion about fractured fairy tales, too. Modern readers tend to want to use this type of story as a way to talk about bullying; this one might fit that criterion.

Notes: The Reading Tub® picked up this book at Book Expo America. There are no expectations of review associated with this book.

Literary Categories: Fiction - picture book, animal characters, fables and folklore, multicultural

Date(s) Reviewed: January 2011

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