Roadsigns: A Hare-Y Race with a Tortoise

Margery Cuyler, Author, Steven Haskamp, Illustrator Winslowhouse International $15.95 (40p) ISBN 978-1-890817-23-7
""One windy spring day, Hare challenged Tortoise to a race. Hare was sure that he would win, but would he?"" That's the beginning--and the end--of Cuyler's (100th Day Worries) narrative in this misfired interpretation of Aesop's fable; from then on, Haskamp's sometimes humorous, often confusing illustrations take over, showing road signs and partisan placards (e.g., ""Go Tortoise"" and ""Bad Hare Day"") displayed by cheering animals with exaggerated expressions. In the end, the effect is chaotic: puns on the word Hare (such as ""Hare-rod's Store"") appearing on signs and storefronts compete with ineffective demonstrations of the road signs' meanings. For example, one page shows a rainfall's effects, with a split panel of the two characters: the hare passes a sign that says ""Flood Area,"" with no flood in evidence; and the tortoise, outfitted against the rain with umbrella and wellies, overtakes a ""Pass With Care"" sign. It's hard to see how the intended age group will use this book, even with previous knowledge of the fable. Although the closing spread read: ""Moral: Hard work pays off!,"" the hard work for readers will be to follow the logic of the road signs herein. Ages 3-6. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 09/04/2000
Release date: 09/01/2000
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