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The 3 Little Dassies

Last updated Monday, December 27, 2010

Author: Jan Brett
Illustrator: Jan Brett
Date of Publication: 2010
ISBN: 0399254994
Grade Level: Kindergarten    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Jan. 2011

Synopsis: From Booklist: 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.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  What are Dassies? (Info on back flap)
•  Where is the Namib Desert? (Namibia in Southern Africa ((find on map in classroom))
•  What is an Agama? (lizard)

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  (Note: read the story first, then go back and look at the pictures on the sides for the side-story.)
•  What are some of the differences with the animals and clothes? What are some similarities?
•  Which house was the safest?
•  Which house would you want to live in?
•  How did the eagle's feathers turn black?
•  hammock
•  driftwood

Craft ideas:
•  1) Cut squares of colorful paper and draw patterns like the fabric in the book, then glue on to big sheet and draw pictures of Dassies or other animals in hats (Bring ahead option: Colorful patterned pieces of fabric)
•  2) Make paper hats (origami-fun.com/origami-hat.html) and decorate them with colorful patterns

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!