Kindergarten-Grade 3.Lowell gives the familiar fable the same Southwestern spin she gave "The Three Little Pigs" in The Three Little Javelinas (Northland, 1992). Tortoise challenges Jackrabbit to a race across the desert; they pass saguaro cacti and mesquite trees, purple sand verbena and desert dandelions, and encounter creatures such as Elf Owl, Scorpion, Tarantula, and Javelina. The spare text is lively and begs to be read aloud. Pronunciation is given in parentheses after unfamiliar words, and while this is helpful, the placement is a little distracting. A note about endangered wildlife of the desert is appended. Harris's acrylic-and-watercolour paintings, reminiscent of Wallace Tripp's work, are full of humour and energy. Tortoise is a staid, elderly female with a hat, gloves, reticule, and lace-edged anklets. Jackrabbit sports green suspenders over a red plaid shirt that covers a slight paunch. The artist uses a range of muted colours that evokes the dry beauty of the area. Even libraries that already own collections of Aesop's fables or Janet Stevens's The Tortoise and the Hare (Holiday, 1984) will want to consider this version for its sprightly, fresh approach..Donna L. Scanlon, Lancaster County Library, PA
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.