The 3 Little Dassies

The 3 Little Dassies by Jan Brett, a retelling of The Three Little Pigs, features three dassie sisters (cute little squirrel-like rodents) dressed fetchingly in the traditional garb of the Herero women of Namibia, the setting for this story. Leaving home to make their way in the world, they encounter a hungry eagle that makes short work of one dassie’s grass house, another’s driftwood house but is defeated by the third’s secure home-made of rocks. There is a very happy & violence free ending to this tale, with many additional story elements to be found in the detailed and colorful illustrations.  An entertaining story with sideline stories on the borders that will keep readers going back to reread the borders themselves. Jan Brett has made a strong effort to portray a partnership of true animal behavior within the story. A nice change from her earlier works. 

Brandon Bensley -Children’s Librarian

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Knuffle Bunny Free: An Unexpected Diversion

For the adventurous young soul in your life just weaning him- or herself from the security blanket of choice, whether it be literally a blanket or a teddy bear or a bunny, Knuffle Bunny Free: An Unexpected Diversion by Mo Willems is the perfect choice this winter season. Knuffle Bunny and Trixie go international in this third book about the oft separated (then reunited) duo, as the whole family goes to visit Oma and Opa in Holland. Knuffle Bunny gets left behind on the plane, sending Trixie into unrelieved moping as it seems this time he is gone for good. Finding that she is indeed “getting bigger,” as the grownups tell her encouragingly, Trixie thinks of the joy her bunny might be bringing to children around the world and begins to enjoy her own vacation. A surprise ending proves that Trixie has grown not only bigger, but brave and compassionate as well. This creatively illustrated picture book will entertain 4 to 6 year olds & the grownups in their lives.

Brandon Bensley

The Biggest Thing in the World by Kenneth Steven

A little bear wakes up from a long nap to find spring is coming and wants to look at the great big world outside his den. After many new sights the little bear still has yet to discover what is the biggest thing in the world? In the end he learns that love is the biggest thing in the world. For those who like warm and fuzzy cuddle time this book delivers. With illustrations suited to the theme of the story, The Biggest Thing in the World is an ideal book to share with young children.

(Mark Taylor, Benjamin Branch Library)

The Adventures of Nanny Piggins by R.A. Spratt

When Mr. Green plants a “Nanny Wanted” sign on his front lawn, he has no idea that the ad will be answered by a pig.  Nanny Piggins will end up taking 3 motherless children on a year of surprises, adventures and sugar highs that they will never forget. 

Even though The Adventures of Nanny Piggins seems a lot like Mary Poppins, it manages to reach its intended audience – children.  With a well laid out plot and character development that keeps the reader moving there is no doubt that the author has left the door opened for sequels to follow.  Certainly readers will be waiting to see what occurs next with Nanny Piggins.

(Mark Taylor, Benjamin Branch Library)

THE UNDERGROUND GATORS

When I was a little boy I was convinced that giant snakes lived in the city sewer system.  So when The Underground Gators arrived I was prepared for that same little boy perspective.  I wasn’t disappointed.  While the concept may not be new (check out There’s an Alligator in my Closetunderground by Mercer Mayer) the presentation done by the team of Casey and Musinger will keep readers chuckling right to the last page.  The text is simple enough and not too wordy for those readers just beginning to enjoy reading on their own or for younger ones who are not ready for a full length story picture book. 

A guranteed request for summertime reading.

(Mark Taylor, Benjamin Branch)