Written by Caroline Repchuk, Illustrated by Alison Jay | Chronicle Books 2001
It’s risky retelling an old story, particularly an Aesop Fable. However, the words of Caroline Repchuk and the illustrations of Alison Jay take on the challenge with sublime confidence. They have recast The Tortoise and the Hare into an around the world race to the finish from Europe to New York. The Race is a delightful, if not a zoological and geographical splendor to page through. As in the original, the hare encounters numerous conflicts and near-disastrous experiences due to his haste, while the tortoise leisurely enjoys a journey complete with fine dining, relaxation—and certainly no anxiety. The dominant story revolves around the hare’s exploits such as rear-ending a poodle while speeding in Paris, or nearly losing his lunch while on a Panda-skippered boat in China. Alison Jay’s distinctive crackle-glazed paintings offer hours of study in the details of the many animals and bugs that populate their landscapes. The story ends pretty much as you expect, but the journey is not short on surprises.