Flat graphic images in pastel colors reinterpret the well-known tale.
The drawback of choosing the ultrafamiliar Aesopian theme is that comparisons with other renditions of the tale are inevitable. The flat, abstract-leaning style of Nój’s illustrations seems at odds with the content of the gentle tale and is a far cry from the warmth, humor, and rich detail of other picture-book versions of the story. The hare is depicted as an odd-looking, round-headed, straight-legged creature; the tortoise is represented by a green and yellow round shape with another circle attached for his head. The shapes of the animals are so similar to the shapes of trees and foliage that some of the spreads are visually hard to decipher. When the hare snacks on some grass, he is taking a bite out of a green semicircle, as if the illustration has completely lost touch with what grass really is. Occasional circular die cuts add to the confusion; snail bodies are equated with the hare’s eyes, when seen through a small circular die cut. Other die cuts seem to have little purpose. The illustrations are too sparse and one-dimensional to provide more than superficial interest and perhaps would be better suited to an iPad app.
The sophisticated graphics lack the warmth and variety needed to justify yet another rendering of this oft-told fable. (Picture book. 2-4)