Southwest Children's  Literature

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Another Tortoise and a Different Hare

Book Review:

Another Tortoise and a Different Hare by Judith Cole is an interesting and cleverly written story about a tortoise and a hare who learn a valuable lesson about friendship. The book is based on one of Aesop's famous fables The Hare and the Tortoise with a desert spin to it. The book, much like The Hare and the Tortoise, is about a hare who challenges a tortoise to a race.

The story suggests that the tortoise and the hare in this story are the grandchildren of Aesop's tortoise and hare. The hare suggests that long ago his grandfather raced a tortoise and the tortoise cheated to win. He informs the tortoise that if they race and he wins, then everyone will know that the tortoise's grandfather had cheated. To protect the reputation of his grandfather, the tortoise reluctantly agrees to the race. They begin to race and the hare immediately takes the lead, but like in Aesop's fable, the hare figures he has the race in the bag and stops to eat some lunch and take a little nap. While he is napping, the tortoise gains a great lead on him. The hare wakes up to find the tortoise ahead of him. After climbing on a rock to see how far ahead the tortoise was, he slips and falls with a rock landing on his leg. The hare begins to call for help. The tortoise, hearing him, decides to go back and help the hare, despite the fact that it may cost him the race. He saves the harešs leg, but then they experience an unexpected twist. They come face to face with a hungry coyote, who pegs them as his dinner and desert. Since the tortoise saved the hare, the hare now decides to return the favor. Being a quick creature, the hare runs and hops all around to confuse the coyote so the tortoise can escape. They coyote finally gives up and together the tortoise and the hare finish the race. The race becomes a tie and the tortoise and the hare decide to not follow in the footsteps of their ancestors before them, and they become friends.

This book offers a fun variation to a well-known and loved fable with a positive and profound message at the end. Because of the desert theme of this book, Cole also added a glossary to the back of the book to describe all of the desert terms used in the story. She made it very easy for a child to enjoy yet learn about the desert at the same time through her story. I highly encourage all children to check out this book from their local library and enjoy while learning!

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