A well-crafted, charming read-aloud version of a famous tale about the importance of perseverance.


The Tortoise & the Hare

A retelling of Aesop’s animal fable that features unusual rhythms.

When a “very special race” is announced, with the grand prize a golden cup, all the animals are excited to sign up—until the speedy, conceited hare decides to join in. Doubting their chances, the other participants quickly drop out, except for the tortoise, who says: “I’ll do my best. / That’s all. I can’t control the rest.” The hare laughs at the idea that the plodding tortoise could ever beat him. He’s so sure of himself, he takes breaks from the race, going for a swim, having a snack, and finally taking a nap sprawled up in a tree (an image that should make young readers giggle). Meanwhile, his opponent keeps going even when losing seems certain (“The tortoise reached the farm at last. / He grinned a little as he passed. / He felt reluctant to admit / He’d dearly love to rest a bit. / His energy was nearly spent. / Then someone cheered, so on he went”). When the tortoise finally catches up and wins, the hare feels “foolish, and lazy, and sad,” knowing he didn’t do his best. Lesson learned: “slow and steady wins the race.” Sinclair (The Golden Ball, 2016, etc.) makes this oft-told story unique by using alternating rhythms for the two protagonists: for the tortoise, the walking pace of iambic tetrameter—“The tortoise limped along the road. / His shell was such a heavy load.” The hare’s verses, on the other hand, use rapid, rollicking anapests: “As the hasty hare raced down that long country track, / He was suddenly tempted to search for a snack.” An author’s note at the end of the book explains the different meters and provides a link to Sinclair reading her own work. Her brightly colored illustrations have the bold outlines and textures of paper cutouts, and while the animals’ facial expressions are somewhat awkward, the hare’s long, lanky body contrasts with the tortoise’s sturdy frame in an echo of their respective rhythms. Overall, this delightful book is both a solid version of a classic story and a subtle introduction to the patterns of poetry.

A well-crafted, charming read-aloud version of a famous tale about the importance of perseverance.

Pub Date: May 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-937186-42-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Chthonicity Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 18, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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Playful, engaging, and full of opportunities for empathy—a raucous storytime hit.


From the There’s a…in Your Book series

Readers try to dislodge a monster from the pages of this emotive and interactive read-aloud.

“OH NO!” the story starts. “There’s a monster in your book!” The blue, round-headed monster with pink horns and a pink-tipped tail can be seen cheerfully munching on the opening page. “Let’s try to get him out,” declares the narrator. Readers are encouraged to shake, tilt, and spin the book around, while the monster careens around an empty background looking scared and lost. Viewers are exhorted to tickle the monster’s feet, blow on the page, and make a really loud noise. Finally, shockingly, it works: “Now he’s in your room!” But clearly a monster in your book is safer than a monster in your room, so he’s coaxed back into the illustrations and lulled to sleep, curled up under one page and cuddling a bit of another like a child with their blankie. The monster’s entirely cute appearance and clear emotional reactions to his treatment add to the interactive aspect, and some young readers might even resist the instructions to avoid hurting their new pal. Children will be brought along on the monster’s journey, going from excited, noisy, and wiggly to calm and steady (one can hope).

Playful, engaging, and full of opportunities for empathy—a raucous storytime hit. (Picture book. 2-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6456-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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Unhei has just left her Korean homeland and come to America with her parents. As she rides the school bus toward her first day of school, she remembers the farewell at the airport in Korea and examines the treasured gift her grandmother gave her: a small red pouch containing a wooden block on which Unhei’s name is carved. Unhei is ashamed when the children on the bus find her name difficult to pronounce and ridicule it. Lesson learned, she declines to tell her name to anyone else and instead offers, “Um, I haven’t picked one yet. But I’ll let you know next week.” Her classmates write suggested names on slips of paper and place them in a jar. One student, Joey, takes a particular liking to Unhei and sees the beauty in her special stamp. When the day arrives for Unhei to announce her chosen name, she discovers how much Joey has helped. Choi (Earthquake, see below, etc.) draws from her own experience, interweaving several issues into this touching account and delicately addressing the challenges of assimilation. The paintings are done in creamy, earth-tone oils and augment the story nicely. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: July 10, 2001

ISBN: 0-375-80613-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2001

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