The hare is the biggest braggart in the forest. He exercises every day, he can outrun anyone, and everyone's just plain sick of him. When he rashly challenges the tortoise to a race, the tortoise decides to teach him a lesson. The old fable is spiced up with psychological details, and tied into a bustling social setting. The airy watercolor-and-ink illustrations look disheveled, and readers will need time to pore over the motley variety of forest creatures. The animals are all elaborately dressed--some in running gear or jeans and sweaters, others in Victorian clothes or the outfits of French peasants. A peephole in the middle of every other page--through which readers see the central character in the next or the previous illustration--adds to the excitement. Jones (Hickory Dickory Dock, 1992, etc.) provides a sophisticated orchestration of a simple tune.