THE RACE by Édouard Manceau


by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 4 - 7
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It’s not about running. It’s not exactly about winning. But it is about a race—sort of.

While the jacket blurb calls the protagonists “caribou,” the text refers to them as “guys” in this tale translated from French, which makes one wonder what the French word for “guys” is. So a guy paints a line on the ground, grabs a megaphone and then a pistol. It’s OK, the pistol shoots only a little flag that says “bang.” Six guys with black limbs and antlers, orange faces and bodies, and big googly eyes line up. No. 4 starts too soon. No. 5 tosses a banana peel over his shoulder to tangle up the rest of the participants, who, after receiving medical attention, enlist a truck and a kite to catch up. (“Mr. Banana Peel” finds himself on the wrong end of that kite.) No. 2 wonders why he is running so hard and stops, and next, he’s painting his little house and planting flowers. When No. 6 wins, readers see him on No. 2’s TV screen, while No. 2, in his hammock, looks sublimely content. There’s a bit of misdirection, as with the pistol, and a bit more reflection about who really wants to be in this race after all, so in the end, the story might be aimed more at adults than the children they are reading it to. The collage shapes are pleasing and funny, however, and the googly eyes and placement of the stick limbs convey a surprising amount of emotion.

Add this winsome fable to the shelves of slightly odd picture books. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 15th, 2014
ISBN: 978-1-77147-055-1
Page count: 64pp
Publisher: Owlkids Books
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 2014


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