Loudmouth speedster Cheetah is sure that race day will be a walkover, but two clever little cats have other ideas.
Much like Shea’s little red roaring dinosaur (Dinosaur vs. Bedtime, 2008, etc.), for all that he’s bigger than anyone and kitted out in a tracksuit, Cheetah obnoxiously announces at the outset that he’s winning every race. Not only do his jokes fall flat—“Oh boy! If you guys had pajamas, I would be them! Because I’m the cat’s pajamas—get it? Never mind”—but so does he after scarfing down five pies in a preliminary pie-eating “race” and the huge sundae that his smiling feline competitors present as a reward; they also award him boxes for his feet and a too-big crown to cover his eyes as “prizes” in other events before the main race. Shea cranks up the energy with loud hues and figures that bound across broad expanses of white surrounded by emphatic bursts of multicolored text. He brings this variant on a trickster tale (most recently retold in Nathan Kumar Scott’s The Great Race, illustrated by Jagdish Chitara, 2012) to an unexpected close: Rather than glory in crushing Cheetah’s self-esteem, the cats give him their first-place medals and assure him that yes, indeed, he won that race too.
A high-volume victory for compassion. (Picture book. 5-8)