The Tortoise & The Hare by Jerry Pinkney

tortoise and the hare

The Tortoise & The Hare
Jerry Pinkney
4 stars

This is another retelling of the Tortoise & the Hare, but done in the illustration style that only Jerry Pinkney can do. The race begins with loads of animals dressed in some items of clothes (hats, vests, bonnets, etc.) ready to watch the race between the tortoise and the hare. There aren’t many words. A fox calls out, “On your marks, get set…Go!” Of course the hare takes off and goes as fast as possible. The pictures show how the hare can go quickly over logs or water and the tortoise takes more time (illustrated by more panels) to go over the same distance. To begin with the hare looks frantic and is going all-out (as shown by the completely outstretched body). But soon hare slows down and digs a hole, eats some lettuce, and takes a nap. Tortoise still trudges on. Eventually hare wakes up and realizes that the nap wasn’t such a great idea because “slow and steady wins the race!”

This is a delightfully illustrated edition of this fable. The expressions on the animals are amazing. There is so much that is told in just an expression or the body language. They way that the smaller panels show what takes longer (from the tortoise’s movements to hare’s sleeping) are a nice visual cue as to how continual movement is more important than rushing and going off-course. And the last illustration with the hare tying the checkered flag around the tortoise’s neck hints that there are no hard feelings against each other. This is a fun retelling that is nearly wordless–just the most essential words are used. Which is great since that will allow grownups who “read” the book to youngsters to continually ask “what is happening?” Which in turn will allow kiddos the opportunity to practice their narrative skills by interpreting what they see and processing it with words into a story. Nicely done, Mr. Pinkney. Nicely done.

Little, Brown and Company, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-316-18356-7
FORMAT: Picture Book
AGES: Preschool

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