From School Library Journal
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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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. Preschool-Grade 2. --Andrew Medlar