Jan Brett’ The 3 Little Dassies is an African version of The Three Little Pigs. I looked up dassie on the internet and after browsing several sites have come to the conclusion that dassies are rodent like creatures that live among the rocks. They are often referred to as rats, but some sites have compared them to guinea pigs and yet other sites state that they are closely related to dugongs and elephants.
At any rate, Brett’s dassies are three adorable little animals that do battle with the Big Bad Eagle. The story takes place in the Namib Desert. The three dassie sisters: Mimbi, Pimbi and Timbi, leave home to build their own homes. Dressed in traditional African dresses and turbans they are harassed by an eagle (he would be the big bad wolf in the traditional story) who wants to feed them to his eaglets. Like the traditional story, the houses are made of leaves (straw), sticks, and stone (brick). The eagle screeches “I’ll flap and I’ll clap and I’ll blow your house in!” He manages to catch Mimbi and Pimbi by destroying their homes. When he is unable to destroy Timbi’s stone house, he decides to be content with just two dassies for a snack, not realizing that the clever little Agama Man (a brightly dressed lizard) has rescued Mimbi and Pimbi. Children will enjoy making the comparisons between the traditional story and Brett’s version. Readers will be entranced by Brett’s customary attention to detail in her illustrations. This book would be an excellent addition to a unit on fairy tales.
Recommended for Preschool – 3rd Grade
Mrs. Archer’s Rating: 5 of 5