Everyone knows that in the story of the Tortoise and the Hare the slow and steady tortoise wins always wins. Or does he? In this energetic retelling Hare wins but the Tortoise has the story to tell. So you decide, what makes a winner?
Toni Morrison (1931–2019) was a Nobel Prize–winning American author, editor, and professor. Her contributions to the modern canon are numerous. Some of her acclaimed titles include: The Bluest Eye, Song of Solomon, and Beloved, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1988. She won the Nobel Prize for Literature 1993.
Joe Cepeda is the illustrator of many award-winning picture books, including Peeny Butter Fudge and The Tortoise or the Hare by Toni Morrison and Slade Morrison, What a Truly Cool World by Julius Lester, Mice and Beans by Pam Muñoz Ryan, and Gracias the Thanksgiving Turkey by Joy Cowley. Mr. Cepeda received his BFA in illustration from California State University, Long Beach. His illustrations have appeared in publications such as the Los Angeles Times; Buzz, Inc. Magazine; and Latina Magazine.
Jimi Hare is fast and Jamey Tortoise is smart. Everyone avoids them, calls them names, and demeans their talents as tricks. When Jimi and Jamey sign up for a race, one practices while the other plans. The tortoise is told that reversals, such as the winner who loses, make the most satisfying newspaper story. The hare hears that the largest crowd gets more attention than the loudest cheers. On the day of the race, the tortoise travels on bus, train, and plane, while the hare dances, runs, and invents new stunts to draw the crowd. Though Jimi Hare crosses the finish line first, all who know Aesop’s fable understand the headline–“WINNER LOSES! LOSER WINS!” Giving a new twist to an old tale, these two lonely and talented characters eventually become friends. Any reading of this tale will depend on knowledge of Aesop’s fable. Illustrations are rendered in oil paints showing bright animated characters against textured backgrounds. Occasional rhymes (“Because he always won, they said he was no fun”) enliven the text. This contemporary retelling should spark interesting discussions.– -SLJ