tortoise and the hare

The Tortoise and the Hare by Jerry Pinkney

Wow.  This companion book to Pinkney’s Caldecott Medal winning The Lion & the Mouse is another outstanding book.  Set in the deserts of the Southwest, the story has all sorts of animals gathered to watch the race, including badgers, lynx, mice, and vultures.  All of them wear at least one piece of clothing, from hats to bandanas to pants.  As the pages of the book turn, readers will get to see how each of the animals approaches the race, from the frenzy and then sloth of the hare to the steadiness of the tortoise.  Readers will get a sense of the slowness also from the words on the page that every so tantalizingly make out phrases as the pages turn. 

Told in few words, the book is all about the illustrations which are magnificent.  Filled with tiny details to linger over, each illustration is beautifully composed and helps move the story forward.  Pinkney stays true to the classic tale, not changing any of the storyline.  He manages to take stories that can become overly wordy and with images alone tell their story and make them appropriate and thrilling for a young audience.  I will always see his illustrations when I hear this story.  That is talent!

Quite simply, this is another masterpiece by Pinkney.  A must-have book for every library serving preschoolers.  Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from library copy.