THE HARE AND THE TORTOISE AND THE TORTOISE AND THE HARE/ LA LIEBRE Y LA TORTUGA Y LA TORTUGA Y LA LIEBRE by William Pene & Lee Po Du Bois

THE HARE AND THE TORTOISE AND THE TORTOISE AND THE HARE/ LA LIEBRE Y LA TORTUGA Y LA TORTUGA Y LA LIEBRE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

That famous foot race and a turn-about sequel, each told in parallel English and Spanish texts and acted out with consummate stage presence against storybook pastel backgrounds. In the first story, the track-suited hare baits a stolid, bathing-capped tortoise who replies, ""I may not be good in sprint races, but in a long race I'm really a tough girl to beat."" The smart aleck hare soon loses ground when he stops to kibitz at a hogs' hog-calling contest (""He liked making fun of other creatures"") and falls behind hoeplessly when caught in a torrential downpour while watching an Indian rainmaking dance, but if the event is clearly no real contest, the economically characterized principals and the piquant eccentricity of crabs wearing bathing suits and prim hogs in Eton collars make it a winner. The second, less satisfactory, episode is set in a shimmering, pointilistic undersea kingdom where the tortoise (who would have believed it of her?) prescribes a poultice of fresh hare's liver as a cure for the Queen of all Fish's fishhook snared lip. The trusting hare is lured into the water and held fast by a slithery-armed sea animal, but escapes through a bit of quick-witted improvisation -- the hate's liver, he tells the fish, ""is like a glass eye in that we can take it out of our bodies and put it back in again. . . . I was afraid I'd get mine wet down below, so I left it above, safe in a drydock cave."" The reversal of roles (and shift os stylistic gears) in scene two may be a little abrupt, but Du Bois' ingenuity helps bridge the gap and in the realm of bilingual materials, this is a commanding performance.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1972
Publisher: Doubleday