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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More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves

MAYBE

A young child explores the unlimited potential inherent in all humans.

“Have you ever wondered why you are here?” asks the second-person narration. There is no one like you. Maybe you’re here to make a difference with your uniqueness; maybe you will speak for those who can’t or use your gifts to shine a light into the darkness. The no-frills, unrhymed narrative encourages readers to follow their hearts and tap into their limitless potential to be anything and do anything. The precisely inked and colored artwork plays with perspective from the first double-page spread, in which the child contemplates a mountain (or maybe an iceberg) in their hands. Later, they stand on a ladder to place white spots on tall, red mushrooms. The oversized flora and fauna seem to symbolize the presumptively insurmountable, reinforcing the book’s message that anything is possible. This quiet read, with its sophisticated central question, encourages children to reach for their untapped potential while reminding them it won’t be easy—they will make messes and mistakes—but the magic within can help overcome falls and failures. It’s unlikely that members of the intended audience have begun to wonder about their life’s purpose, but this life-affirming mood piece has honorable intentions. The child, accompanied by an adorable piglet and sporting overalls and a bird-beaked cap made of leaves, presents white.

More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves . (Picture book. 2-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-946873-75-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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With comically realistic black-and-white illustrations by Selznick (The Robot King, 1995, etc.), this is a captivating...

FRINDLE

Nicholas is a bright boy who likes to make trouble at school, creatively. 

When he decides to torment his fifth-grade English teacher, Mrs. Granger (who is just as smart as he is), by getting everyone in the class to replace the word "pen'' with "frindle,'' he unleashes a series of events that rapidly spins out of control. If there's any justice in the world, Clements (Temple Cat, 1995, etc.) may have something of a classic on his hands. By turns amusing and adroit, this first novel is also utterly satisfying. The chess-like sparring between the gifted Nicholas and his crafty teacher is enthralling, while Mrs. Granger is that rarest of the breed: a teacher the children fear and complain about for the school year, and love and respect forever after. 

With comically realistic black-and-white illustrations by Selznick (The Robot King, 1995, etc.), this is a captivating tale—one to press upon children, and one they'll be passing among themselves. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-689-80669-8

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1996

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