When King Lion holds a race to honor the fastest animal, Cheetah easily wins the title.
Cheetah runs 75 miles per hour in the 100-yard dash, but all the other animals clamor to show their own great speeds in different kinds of contests. Large and small, land and sea animals, birds and beasts, reptiles and insects: They tell their king the facts about their abilities. Husky says: “I am the fastest over long distances.” Ostrich wants all participants to “run on two legs to be fair to everyone.” A sea turtle thinks that the race should be held in the water, an idea heartily endorsed by a black marlin. A majestic peregrine falcon insists on the sky because these birds fly at 240 miles per hour, but a small free-tailed bat pipes up and says that the race “should be at night!” What’s a wise ruler to do? The king creates “an Olympics” with multiple events. Realistic illustrations in a somewhat dull palette of browns, blues, and greens bring animals together (not always to scale) in a dusty savanna landscape. The folkloric telling contrasts with the factual speeds of the animals included in the text. Educational activities in the backmatter, some beyond the ability of the intended readers of the main text, focus on mathematical and scientific comparisons. A Spanish-language edition publishes simultaneously in paperback only.
An additional choice for young readers interested in animal traits. (bibliography) (Informational picture book. 6-8)