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Review of Hare and Tortoise

murray_hare and tortoiseHare and Tortoise
by Alison Murray; illus. by the author
Preschool, Primary    Candlewick    32 pp.
5/16    978-0-7636-8721-2    $16.99

With warm, lively digital art and snappy narrated text, this new rendition of Aesop’s famous race will make a funny and satisfying read-aloud for both those familiar with the fable and those coming to it for the first time. Giving the race the due diligence of a very serious sporting event (to comedic effect), the book introduces the two characters with much fanfare, including detailed charts meant to identify advantages and disadvantages. (“The Hare. Leapus swifticus. Eyes. Sharply focused on the finish line. Head. Perhaps a little bit big.” “The Tortoise. Slow and steadicus. fig. 1. Tortoise. fig 2. Rock.”) When the rooster crows “Cock-a-doodle-GO!” the race is on, and Hare charges off the page, leaving a stunned tortoise far behind. Smart design makes the story more engaging through strategic page-turns and page layouts that cleverly illustrate the widening gap between the two characters as they make their way through the meadow and past the duck pond, the carrot field, and the shady tree. Hare’s overconfidence lures him into complacency (with some carrots and a nap), and Tortoise manages to slip past and beat him to the barn-gate finish line. A gracious winner, Tortoise doesn’t let Hare dwell in disappointment for long — she suggests a follow-up race to the lettuce patch.

From the May/June 2016 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Julie Roach About Julie Roach

Julie Roach manages youth services at the Cambridge Public Library in Massachusetts. She also teaches children’s literature at Simmons College’s Graduate School of Library and Information Science and at Lesley University.

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