The Tortoise and the Jackrabbit
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The Tortoise and the Jackrabbit

by Susan Lowell, Jim Harris


The Tortoise and the Jackrabbit

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
As in their The Three Little Javelinas, Lowell and Harris revivify a timeworn tale with a Southwestern setting and a dash of wit. The tortoise here is a bespectacled, parasol-toting marm. Her cocky rival-a singing (``Long, low, LEAP, ho!'') jackrabbit-springs into the air to flaunt his speed. ``Tortoise looked patiently up at him with her old, old eyes. `Let's race,' she said.'' A jumble of directional signs tucked under his wing, Roadrunner marks the course through a desert filled with the appropriate flora and fauna. Indeed, with repeated readings, the safari-style ecological subtext may overtake the amusement of the race itself. Precise and punchy, Lowell's undated prose turns hip alongside Harris's comical characterizations. The race ends with an endearing laugh at Tortoise eating her victory bouquet; the book ends with an author's note concerning the current threats to desert creatures. A merry blend of play, allegory and environmentalism. Ages 3-up. (Oct.)
Children's Literature - Jan Lieberman
This story is a version of the famous fable set in the desert where characters like Roadrunner, Tarantula, Skunk, Gila Monster, and Javelina cheer for Tortoise. The setting adds color by way of its flora saguaro. The characters have distinct personalities and respond enthusiastically to the two competitors. A note at the end comments that although Tortoise wins in this fable, real desert tortoises are in trouble.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 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-watercolor paintings, reminiscent of Wallace Tripp's work, are full of humor 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 colors 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
Ellen Mandel
The well-known fable of the tortoise and the hare is fetchingly told in this jovial collaboration by Lowell and Harris. Here, Tortoise is an aged granny decked out in flower-brimmed hat, lace-trimmed anklets, and white gloves. Hare sports a bandanna and a feather in his hat along with his cocky, sure-to-win attitude. The spectators represent many other native desert critters humorously dressed in western attire. As the competitors advance on the course, indigenous plants and lesser-known animals are inconspicuously identified. While Tortoise slowly, appreciatively, and deservedly munches her championship bouquet of spring flowers, the author seizes the opportunity to apply this well-known tale to contemporary concerns about the destruction of desert habitat. If the wild desert is preserved, Lowell concludes, "we will all be winners."

Product Details

Cooper Square Publishing Llc
Publication date:
Edition description:
1st ed
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
9.46(w) x 11.06(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
3 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Dr. Short is a division director at the Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL) in Washington, D.C. She has worked as a teacher, trainer, researcher, and curriculum/materials developer. Her work at CAL has concentrated on the integration of language learning with content-area instruction. Through several national projects, she has conducted research and provided professional development and technical assistance to local and state education agencies across the United States. She directed the ESL Standards and Assessment Project for TESOL and co-developed the SIOP model for sheltered instruction.

Dr. Tinajero specializes in staff development and school-university partnership programs and has consulted with school districts in the U.S. to design ESL, bilingual, literacy, and bi-literacy programs. She has served on state and national advisory committees for standards development, including the English as a New Language Advisory Panel of the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards and the Texas Reading Academies. She is currently professor of Education and Interim Dean of the College of Education at the University of Texas at El Paso and was President of the National Association for Bilingual Education, 1997-2000.

Dr. Schifini assists schools across the nation and around the world in developing comprehensive language and literacy programs for English learners. He has worked as an ESL teacher, reading specialist, school administrator and university professor. Through an arrangement with California State Polytechnic University at Pomona, Dr. Schifini currently serves as program consultant to two large teacher-training efforts in the area of reading for second language speakers of English. His research interests include early literacy and language development and the integration of language and content-area instruction.

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