In this debut picture book, Pérez shares his vision of the age-old lesson that there is more to life than competing with others.
The brief story opens by introducing Little Mike, who prefers buttons on his clothing, and his cousin Joshua, who prefers zippers. One night, the two boys decide to have a race to see who can put on their pajamas the fastest. Little Mike wins the first round with his buttons because Joshua cannot seem to be able to find his zipper in the dark. The two boys decide to compete again the following night, but when the time comes, Joshua’s zipper gets caught, and Little Mike triumphs again. Finally, Joshua decides to oil his zipper to get it working properly, and he prevails in the third race. When Little Mike discovers his tactic, he decides it’s cheating and demands that they try again with an unoiled zipper. Joshua gets an article of clothing with a newer zipper and wins the fourth contest as well. Because both boys are even in their scores, they decide to ask the Master Tailor which is better, buttons or zippers. The Master Tailor uses a metaphor about how both edges of his scissors work together, and he tells them: “My little ones, it is good to race, compete and win. But again, I think life is not only about winning, but about working together.” The buoyant story is accompanied by Bunda’s (Macimanito Môswa, 2016, etc.) sweet illustrations of the two boys and the Master Tailor. (The cast, however, lacks diversity.) Some of the colorful images show the boys racing in cars or rocket ships as a visual metaphor for their more sedate competition. The plot moves swiftly and thus this simple tale is a quick read. While the message that “winning isn’t everything” is not a new moral, Pérez delivers a fresh and somewhat unexpected take on it. But the text could use another edit, as there are some minor errors in capitalization and punctuation (for example, missing quotation marks). Otherwise, the formatting is consistent and eye-catching.
This lively tale about a quirky race should entertain children, particularly those who are just learning to read.