CM . . .
. Volume VIII Number 13 . . . . March 1, 2002
In this adaptation of the Mayan version of the tortoise and the hare fable, Venado, the ruler and largest deer in the jungle, challenges Sapo, a little toad, to a race. Knowing he could never win against the swift deer, Sapo enlists the help of his friends. Hiding among the leaves and roots along the course, the toads wait for the race to begin. Shortly after the runners take off, Venado looks back and calls the toad to hurry forward. But, ahead of him, a toad voice shouts, "Adelante, Tio Venado, forward!" This happens again and again, causing the deer to run faster each time. Finally, gasping for breath, Venado can barely move, and Sapo crosses the finish line first.
A refreshing and lively retelling, this story is complemented by the vibrant watercolour illustrations whose brilliant kaleidoscope of colours suits the story's jungle setting perfectly. Youngsters will delight in searching for the various simply-drawn animals amid the plants and vivid colour wash backgrounds on each page. Though very "busy" for most picture books, in this case, the illustrations speak both to the story and to its cultural roots.
Hamilton is a teacher-librarian at Bird's Hill School in East St. Paul,
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.