Is There Really a Human Race?
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Is There Really a Human Race?

4.8 7
by Jamie Lee Curtis, Laura Cornell
     
 

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Is there really a human race?

Is it going on now all over the place?

When did it start?

Who said, "Ready, Set, Go"?

Did it start on my birthday?

I really must know.

With these questions, our hero's imagination is off and running. Is the human race an obstacle course? Is it a spirit? Does he get his own lane? Does he get his own coach?

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Overview

Is there really a human race?

Is it going on now all over the place?

When did it start?

Who said, "Ready, Set, Go"?

Did it start on my birthday?

I really must know.

With these questions, our hero's imagination is off and running. Is the human race an obstacle course? Is it a spirit? Does he get his own lane? Does he get his own coach?

Written with Jamie Lee Curtis's humor and heart and illustrated with Laura Cornell's worldly wit, Is There Really a Human Race? Is all about relishing the journey and making good choices along the way—because how we live and how we love is how we learn to make the world a better place, one small step at a time.

Editorial Reviews

Both sage and silly, this book offers a great opportunity for parents and children to slow down and explore how best to live life. Confused by the term "human race," a young boy questions whether people are literally in a race. His mom's reply: "Sometimes it's better not to go fast. There are beautiful sights to be seen when you're last." As in previous ventures, Cornell's high-energy tableaux humorously complement Curtis's heartwarming message to enjoy the journey and help others ("take what's inside you and make big, bold choices. And for those who can't speak for themselves, use bold voices"). In one picture, people scurry frantically in a giant hamster wheel. In a contrasting scene, a Muslim and a Jew share a peaceful game of Go Fish: "Do you have any 2's?" (Ages 6 to 8)
Child magazine's Best Children's Book Awards 2006
Publishers Weekly
This circuitous tale from the creators of It's Hard to Be Five opens with a series of questions: "Is there really/ a human race?/ Is it going on now all over the place?/ When did it start?/ Who said, `Ready, Set, Go'?/ Did it start on my birthday?/ I really must know." Cornell quickly livens up the proceedings, however, with a spread of newborns lined up in a nursery, suggesting clues to their futures. One sunglasses-sporting infant holds an Oscar statuette, another chews on the tassel of a graduation cap. The relay race metaphor plays out as Cornell pictures a diverse spectrum of people dashing about madly, and the narrator poses more questions: "Is the race like a loop/ or an obstacle course?/ Am I a jockey,/ or am I a horse?" After asking why he is doing "this zillion-yard dash," the lad observes that if we don't help each other, we're all going to "crash." Switching to the mother's perspective, the narrative emphasizes the importance of taking one's time, trying one's best ("that's more important than beating the rest") and making the world a better place "for the whole human race." Curtis's message has merit, yet its singsong delivery seems muddled. Yet fans of this duo may well be carried along by Cornell's bustling, whimsical art, overflowing with quirky particulars that celebrate the diversity of people everywhere. All ages. (Sept.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature - Beverley Fahey
If life is a race, when did it start, is it a race against friends, is it a loop or obstacle course, is it okay to push ahead, and is it a sprint or a dash? These are just some of the questions a little boy ponders as he reflects on his role in the human race. His mother offers sage advice ...don't go to fast so you can't enjoy the sights, lend a helping hand to those who stumble, speak up for those who can't, and "make friends and love well." Curtis puts a humorous spin on her message that proves that life is a journey and not a race, and it is everyone's responsibility to make good choices. Bold, colorful paintings capture all the charm and rhythm of the lyrical text. From babies lined up in nursery bassinettes, each with a distinct personality, to the frenzy of the race with its swirl of action in the chaotic moments before the CRASH, the momentum builds and then resolves in a calm and peaceful conclusion. Quirky details and multiethnic caricatures fill the pages. Another solid hit from a winning team. Fun for all ages.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-Curtis writes so very well, in infectious toe-tapping poetic form, of the inner thoughts and worries that children struggle with all too frequently. Here, a boy asks his mother the title question. He continues, "If the race is unfair, will I succeed?" His mother tells her son that it's often better to help others and make the world a better place than to win first place in a foot race. Cornell's ink-and-color wash cartoons are a perfect match to Curtis's lilting text. The detailed spreads will fascinate young readers. For instance, on the page on which the child asks, "-is Dad on my team?" the illustrations show his father, grandad, and a multitude of ancestors back to cavemen. When he worries about making the wrong turn, a maze full of children of different ethnicities is depicted. This book should be enjoyed by the whole human race.-Alice DiNizo, Plainfield Public Schools, NJ Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Teammates Curtis and Cornell have once again produced a winningly simple yet profound picture book that uses a play on the word "race" to ask, through a variety of child-posed questions, about the significant competition we all face as humans. What's the race all about? When did it start? How does one compete and train? What about winning or losing? The second half of Curtis's rhyming ode to humanity concludes with a series of responses pointing out everyone's responsibility to "just try your best" and help one another "make the world better for the whole human race." Cornell's signature full-color cartoon illustrations with hand-lettered text comically portray a variety of contests the young hero imagines with angst and concern as he continues to wonder. Sound philosophy ingeniously expressed in an amusing and insightful way that both youngsters can understand and we older folk should heed. (Picture book. 5-10)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780060753467
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
09/05/2006
Pages:
40
Sales rank:
172,949
Product dimensions:
11.10(w) x 9.60(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Jamie Lee Curtis has had many firsts: her first (and only) marriage to Christopher Guest, her first time holding her children, Annie and Tom, her first time pretending to be a customer in an episode of Quincy, and her first time she wrote words that became her first book. She lives in Los Angeles, the first city she ever lived in, and is always first in line, first to arrive, first to leave, and first to sleep.

Laura Cornell lives in New York City with her daughter, Lily (first and only), but they spend much time in California, Laura's first state in her first home. She was asked to illustrate Jamie's first book, and that became ten. Lucky is the first word that comes to mind.

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