The Race

Overview


Get ready, get set, GO! A group of caribou gather together to run a race. Starting at the beginning of the course, readers join in the fun as the caribou engage in some rather outlandish tricks in order to be the first to cross the finish line. (Banana skins, for example, are an effective way to get rid of some opponents.) But in the midst of this titanic struggle for victory, some of the caribou stop to question the merits of their single-minded pursuit of winning at all costs. In the end, the reader is left to...
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Overview


Get ready, get set, GO! A group of caribou gather together to run a race. Starting at the beginning of the course, readers join in the fun as the caribou engage in some rather outlandish tricks in order to be the first to cross the finish line. (Banana skins, for example, are an effective way to get rid of some opponents.) But in the midst of this titanic struggle for victory, some of the caribou stop to question the merits of their single-minded pursuit of winning at all costs. In the end, the reader is left to decide who the real winner is in this cautionary tale about the ups and downs of winning and losing.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
02/03/2014
Manceau follows the minimalist fun of 2013’s Windblown with a philosophical story about competition and the definition of success. An endearingly goofy bunch of caribou—fashioned from identical cut-paper shapes, with big googly eyes and antlers that resemble pretzel rods—compete in a footrace. As the competition grows tougher, those googly eyes become positively vicious; the racers cheat and sabotage one another, and seem to derive little pleasure from the contest. Manceau, certainly, is unimpressed, even when a winner is declared: “They give him flowers, they clap, they put him on TV,” he shrugs. The author’s sympathies are elsewhere—with a caribou that questioned why he was running and then dropped out to build a fine little house with a lovely garden. “They say there is only one winner,” Manceau muses as the caribou lounges in a hammock. “They also say that everyone else lost... that’s just what they say.” A response to the competitiveness of youth sports? An odd message in an Olympic year? Perhaps, but it’s also an excellent opportunity for adults and children to pause and discuss the meaning of life—ideally while in a hammock. Ages 3–7. (Apr.)
From the Publisher

"Add this winsome fable to the shelves of slightly odd picture books."
– Kirkus Reviews

"The vibrant colors and personable characters prompt young readers and adults alike to think more deeply about life."
– Foreword Reviews

"It's a whimsy-filled ride with a straightforward message, and there's real pleasure in watching these little dudes scheme their way to the finish line and in the celebration of a laid-back lifestyle."
– Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

School Library Journal
04/01/2014
K-Gr 3—Six bipedal caribou arrive at the starting line for a race. These competitors will do anything to win, from throwing banana peels to hitching a ride; whoever is in first place is viewed with obvious malice. In an existential twist, some runners decide to quit: "They wonder why they started running like that in the first place. So they decide to settle down and enjoy life. The others don't give it much thought. They keep playing tricks on each other…" This book uses the same writing style as Manceau's Windblown (Owlkids, 2013), with short sentences and little background information, but feels more abrupt and jarring. The cut-paper collage artwork is very fine, using a controlled palette of black, orange, and green with pops of blue. The overall effect of the well-composed art is spare, but there are lots of details worth noticing. The caribou "guys" are very appealing, and show quite a range of emotion through slight changes in their eyes and antlers. The final spread shows the one who quit happily relaxing in his hammock and raises the question of whether he truly lost by not racing to cross the finish line first. This is definitely not a lesson in sportsmanship, and the line it treads between funny and spiteful is very narrow indeed. Fans of the gentle Windblown will likely be disappointed by this harsh look at competitive drive.—Anna Haase Krueger, Ramsey County Library, MN
Kirkus Reviews
2014-02-12
It's not about running. It's not exactly about winning. But it is about a race—sort of. While the jacket blurb calls the protagonists "caribou," the text refers to them as "guys" in this tale translated from French, which makes one wonder what the French word for "guys" is. So a guy paints a line on the ground, grabs a megaphone and then a pistol. It's OK, the pistol shoots only a little flag that says "bang." Six guys with black limbs and antlers, orange faces and bodies, and big googly eyes line up. No. 4 starts too soon. No. 5 tosses a banana peel over his shoulder to tangle up the rest of the participants, who, after receiving medical attention, enlist a truck and a kite to catch up. ("Mr. Banana Peel" finds himself on the wrong end of that kite.) No. 2 wonders why he is running so hard and stops, and next, he's painting his little house and planting flowers. When No. 6 wins, readers see him on No. 2's TV screen, while No. 2, in his hammock, looks sublimely content. There's a bit of misdirection, as with the pistol, and a bit more reflection about who really wants to be in this race after all, so in the end, the story might be aimed more at adults than the children they are reading it to. The collage shapes are pleasing and funny, however, and the googly eyes and placement of the stick limbs convey a surprising amount of emotion. Add this winsome fable to the shelves of slightly odd picture books. (Picture book. 4-7)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781771470551
  • Publisher: Owlkids Books
  • Publication date: 4/15/2014
  • Pages: 64
  • Sales rank: 1,561,665
  • Age range: 3 - 7 Years
  • Lexile: AD540L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.00 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author


Édouard Manceau often works in paper collage, bringing his friendly characters to life with style and humor. The author and illustrator of Windblown, he lives in Vendée, France.
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