Sunday, November 07, 2010

Revisiting Old Favorites -- The 3 Little Pigs

The 3 Little Dassies
by Jan Brett
G.P. Putnam's Sons (Penguin), 2010
review copy provided by the publisher

Jan Brett brings us a charming African version of The 3 Little Pigs set in Namibia. Dassies are critters that resemble a guinea pig-sized koala. They live in rocky areas with red-headed agama lizards nearby and black eagles overhead.

The style of this book is classic Jan Brett, with borders composed of a stunning variety of African prints and patterns, the illustrations filled with details of the plant and animal life of the region, the characters dressed in the traditional dress of the Herero women of Namibia, and foreshadowing found in decorated panels in the margins of each page.

Mimbi, Pimbi, and Timbi are the three dassie sisters who set off from the Namib Desert towards the mountains to make a new life now that they are all grown up. They meet Agama Man, a fancily-dressed redheaded lizard who watches over them as Mimbi weaves her home of grasses, Pimbi constructs her home of driftwood, and Timbi makes her home of mountain stones. The eagle in this version does not huff and puff, but she does grab Mimbi and Pimbi and take them to her nest to feed to her babies. Agama Man saves the two sisters, bringing them safely to Timbi's stone house.  When the eagle swoops down the chimney to grab Timbi, she lands in the fire and singes her feathers, which is why the eagles in that part of Africa are black to this very day.

Two thumbs up for this new version of The 3 Little Pigs!

Tomorrow, a new version of The Red Hen...

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