Doodler concocts an updated—and considerably tweaked—version of “The Tortoise and the Hare.”
There’s no “slow and steady” here. Grimly determined to beat Shelly “Shell on Wheels” Turtle, for once, in the annual Pickleberry Grand Prix, Rod the dachshund sets out to design and build a homemade racer. With help from Goldie Goldfish and after many failed experiments, Rod roars to the starting line in a souped-up lawn mower (as previewed on the cover, wreathed in flames thanks to an embedded spinner) fitted with “an extra-special mystery button.” The race is on! In the thick-lined, very simple cartoons, an all-animal cast stands on hind legs (or fins) beside an array of race cars with clever monikers like Goldie’s “Fishbowler” and Charlie Chicken’s “Egg-Sterminator.” Roaring around the track, Rod and Shelly are neck and neck…until a patch of oil suddenly sends Shelly into a tailspin. Rather than let her crash, Rod pushes the mystery button—to activate an ejection seat—snags Shelly as he flies by, and carries her over the finish line to a shared triumph. In the last scene, he and his erstwhile rival (evidently a good sport) share the trophy as they wave from the winner’s stand.
Young audiences will join in the general applause, and they may come away with a broadened notion of what a “win” looks like too. (Picture book. 4-6)