cover image When Turtle Grew Feathers: A Tale from the Choctaw Nation

When Turtle Grew Feathers: A Tale from the Choctaw Nation

Tim Tingle. August House Publishers, $16.95 (30pp) ISBN 978-0-87483-777-3

In this version of the Rabbit and the Turtle fable, slow and steady does not win the race. Instead, an imposter-Turtle's friend Turkey, who has temporarily slipped inside the reptile's shell-soundly defeats Rabbit. Turkey feigns being a slowpoke as he waddles to the starting line, and then, ""All of a sudden, wings popped out of the turtle shell-long, slow-flapping wings!.... Turkey took off in an explosion of dust."" Flabbergasted and humiliated, Rabbit slinks away, suitably chastened for his cockiness. Although the story takes a few pages to pick up a momentum of its own, Tingle (Crossing Bok Chitto), a member of the Choctaw Nation, proves once again that he's a vivid and generous narrator; the mesmerizing cadences of oral storytelling transfer seamlessly to the written word. Schuett's (Watermelon Wishes) almost operatically expressive paintings seem to push at the margins of pages, making them an excellent match for the text's expansive, boisterous voice. Ages 4-8.