cover image The Tortoise & the Hare

The Tortoise & the Hare

Jerry Pinkney. Little, Brown, $18 (40p) ISBN 978-0-316-18356-7

Caldecott winner Pinkney’s magnificently illustrated version of this famous fable gives the race the excitement of an Olympic event. On the title page, the hare challenges the tortoise and gives his neckerchief to the fox referee to use for a flag. The setting is the Southwestern desert, and the animal spectators range from bobcat and vulture to field mouse and frog. The hare leaps forth as if shot from a cannon; the tortoise, grim-faced in an engineer’s cap and bandanna, plods forward. Iterative text, delivered word by word at tortoise speed, bolsters the story’s lesson. “Slow and steady,” reads the spread that shows the tortoise making his way through a pond that the hare cleared with one leap. “Slow and steady wins,” shows the tortoise lumbering past the snoring hare. “Slow and steady wins the,” sees the hare struggling to catch up as the tortoise strides across the finish line. Pinkney’s portraits are so lifelike that the animals appear to breathe, and they present a peaceable kingdom in which predators and prey live in harmony. Ages 3–6. Agent: Sheldon Fogelman, Sheldon Fogelman Agency. (Oct.)