Review of Who Will Win?

Who Will Win? Who Will Win? [I Like to Read]
by Arihhonni David; illus. by the author
Primary    Holiday    32 pp.
4/23    9780823449484    $15.99
e-book ed.  9780823455126    $9.99

“Bear has fast legs. Turtle has a fast mind. Who will win the race?” An elder, Tota, tells a trickster story in a beginning reader that succeeds both as a learning tool for new readers and as a layered tale to appreciate over repeat readings. When we meet Turtle, he’s standing in a power pose surveying the racecourse on a frozen lake, while on the opposite page, Bear executes an impressive warm-up routine. The digitally created art, in a cartoon style with an edge of realism, is appealing and supports the minimal text, which uses repetition and sight words without overwhelming new readers. Bear bounds over the ice while tricky Turtle swims below, popping up to periodically exclaim, “Here I am!” Bear’s evolving facial expressions will be familiar to anyone who’s run a tough race, and astute observers will notice that the markings on Turtle’s shell are different each time he surfaces. All is revealed in the end, and wily but good-natured Turtle shares his prize. Author David, a member of the ­Haudenosaunee Kanienkehaka (Mohawk) people, includes words from the Kanienkeha language for added interest and context. There is a notable lack of beginning reader books from an Indigenous perspective, and this book is most welcome.

From the March/April 2023 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Adrienne L. Pettinelli

Adrienne L. Pettinelli is the director of the Henrietta (NY) Public Library. She has served on several book award committees, including the 2015 Caldecott Committee, and is the author of Helping Homeschoolers in the Library (2008).

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