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Ranging from classic tales to imaginary places, and everything in between, a number of beautifully illustrated picture books for young readers have recently been released.

"THE 3 LITTLE DASSIES," by Jan Brett, G.P. Putnam's Sons, $17.99 (ages 3-8)

The classic story of three little pigs gets a new twist in Jan Brett's "The 3 Little Dassies." Inspired by a trip to Namibia, Brett trades the pigs for rock dassies, guinea-pig-like animals, and three brothers for sisters.

Mimbi, Pimbi and Timbi hope to find a place cooler, a place less crowded and a place safe from eagles to build their new homes. But they're going to have to be smarter than the eagle if they want their homes to survive.

Done in traditional Brett style, "The 3 Little Dassies" features intricate illustrations based on bold African patterns and landscapes. Readers will enjoy this new take on a familiar tale. And as a bonus, Brett has included an illustration of what the dassies look like in their natural habitat.

"EVERYTHING BUT THE HORSE," by Holly Hobbie, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, $16.99 (ages 4-8)

When Holly Hobbie was a young girl, her family moved from the city to the countryside. Plenty of things on their new farm were scary at first, but as she gets settled it's not too bad. The farm has ducks, geese, wild cats, a dog, a cow, chickens and a rooster. It has everything but the horse. Beautiful watercolor paintings bring this chapter of Hobbie's own childhood to life.

"HOW TO RAISE A DINOSAUR," by Natasha Wing and Pablo Bernasconi, Running Press Kids, $16.95 (ages 4-8)

Looking for the right pet? There are lots of possibilities. Perhaps a cat or a dog or a horse? Or maybe a dinosaur? Dinosaurs are great pets, too, and this book gives kids all the how to's at their fingertips. Colorful and beautifully textured illustrations are enhanced by lift-the-flaps and fun die-cuts. "How to Raise a Dinosaur" is definitely eye-catching.

"AND I LOVE YOU," by Ruth Krauss and Steven Kellogg, Scholastic Press, $16.99 (ages 4-8)

The love between a parent and a child can be as expansive as the big sky or as simple as a few flowers. Here, a cat and her kitten share adventures big and small through the pages of a book. Simple yet heartwarming text is accompanied by charming illustrations of rich forests, golden fields and flying books.

"THREE LITTLE KITTENS," by Jerry Pinkney, Dial, $16.99 (ages 4-8)

Three little kittens, they've lost their mittens, and now they will have no pie. It's one of the best-known Mother Goose nursery rhymes and now a book by Caldecott Medal winner author/artist Jerry Pinkney ("The Lion and the Mouse"). This familiar tale comes to life with vibrant illustrations that are full of action and warmth.

"ONE HAND, TWO HANDS," by Max Lucado, Thomas Nelson, $16.99 (ages 4-8)

A young girl imagines her stuffed animals coming to life in this book about how much hands can do. Her hands can scratch and latch and comb and brush, but they can also dig in the dirt and wash dishes and clean up a mess, too. Rhyming text is accompanied by sweet illustrations in this learning book.

e-mail: jharrison@desnews.com