cover image The Great Race

The Great Race

Kevin O'Malley. Walker, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8027-2158-7

Vanity proves the Achilles heel for a boastful bunny in O'Malley's (Animal Crackers Fly the Coop) sprightly retelling of the Tortoise and the Hare fable. Nate Tortoise has had his fill of everyone raving about Lever Lapin, the greatest runner in the world. And when Nate overhears Lapin tell reporters "I find myself fascinating.... I am so beautiful that when I look at myself I scream with joy," it's all too much. Nate challenges Lever to a race to put him in his place. When Lever, far in the lead, stops to sign autographs and bask in his fans' praise, readers will know what's next. O'Malley gives the familiar plot some zip via the taunting dialogue between Nate and Lever, as well as funny asides from observers ("He's so slow, he's gonna get a parking ticket!" quips a slug). The ink-and-watercolor illustrations, depicting an almost Parisian setting, keep the contest interesting, too. Fans of O'Malley's brand of silly wordplay won't be disappointed: from Nate's favorite restaurant, La Gaganspew, to a final pun on the characters names, it's evident throughout. Ages 4%E2%80%938. (June)