In a time of drought, the animals can't reach the only available food: fruit on a miraculous tree. Legend says that only those who know the tree's name will have its bounty, so first the speedy gazelle, and then the elephant, is sent to the distant lionking to learn it--only to forget on the way back. Finally, the disdained young tortoise accomplishes the mission by repeating the tree's name as he plods home. The excellent text here has a cadence beautifully honed by storyteller Lottridge. Wallace's misty, full-page illustrations have the quality of lithographs: soft-textured and beautifully designed, they show the beguiling animals in ever-surprising arrangements. Outstanding.