Who hasn’t heard the story of the tortoise and the hare? You know the one, where the hare is so full of himself that he loses a race to a lowly turtle. The story has been re-told so many times, no way anyone could add anything fresh to the story line, right? Wrong!
In Caldecott Medalist Jerry Pinkney’s latest picture book — nay, masterpiece — The Tortoise and the Hare, readers get a fresh, eye-popping take on the infamous race between the tortoise and the hare.
The book opens to a bold, brilliant and quite unforgettable panorama of the quaint and earthy countryside. Young readers get a feast for the eyes as they point out farm houses, windmills, and cacti in the panorama. They can even trace the exact path the tortoise and hare must travel to finish the race.
By the second page, Mr. Pinkney introduces a parade of forest animals with earth-toned fur and vintage faces that whisk readers back to the whimsical story books of yester-year.
Readers meet the confident, slightly conceited Hare and the unassuming, slow-as-molasses Tortoise. They meet an excited wolf with suspenders; a smiling alligator with a bowler hat; a hopping mouse that looks like he’s “all business;” and even a beaver with a bonnet. Everyone’s waiting for the big race, and–
And…they’re off! Hare’s in the lead, of course, but Tortoise doesn’t let the sight of Hare’s backside deter him. He inches ahead, keeping the words “Slow and steady wins the race” in the front of his mind.
In fact, except for those six words — Slow–and–steady–wins–the–race — there are no other words in this picture book. It is silent, giving very young children the opportunity to supply their own story line through the emotions and actions they observe.
This book is an artistic masterpiece. Mr. Pinkney’s skills are nothing short of amazing, and a smart picture book lover would add this book to their growing “Jerry Pinkney” collection without a second thought.
The Tortoise & The Hare is great for laptime and naptime, but should also be great for inspiring young children to use their imaginations to make up their own story line.
Best wishes and happy forest friends,