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The Great Race by Nathan Kumar Scott

The Great Race (edition 2012)

by Nathan Kumar Scott, Jagdish Chitara

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Title:The Great Race
Authors:Nathan Kumar Scott
Other authors:Jagdish Chitara
Info:Tara Books (2012), Hardcover, 32 pages

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The Great Race by Nathan Kumar Scott



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The familiar folktale of the Tortoise and the Hare is retold here with an all-new set of animals and stunning original illustrations.

Kanchil the mouse deer is the boaster, sure that he's faster than all the other animals in the forest. He decides to challenge all the creatures in the forest to The Great Race to show them all how he is the fastest. All the animals gather, but the only one willing to race Kanchil is Pelan the snail. Pelan the trickster wins the race not once but twice and Kanchil learns a lesson in humility.

The illustrations are created by Jagdish Chitara, a member of the Waghari community. They create a traditional sacred cloth called Mata Ni Pachedi, Cloth of the Mother. The art in this story is in stark red, white and black, with stylized versions of the animals and elaborate designs. The art swirls from page to page, recreating the circular designs of the traditional cloth while creating something new. While the style will be unfamiliar to most children, it's accessible and the different animals are easy to identify.

The end notes explaining the artist and his art were interesting, but I would have liked some additional information on the origins of the folktale. According to the back cover, it's an Indonesian folktale and Kanchil is a traditional trickster character, but that's all the information that is given.

Verdict: This is a new and interesting folktale; familiar enough in subject and art for children and adults unfamiliar with the culture to connect with, but different enough to be intriguing. It would make an excellent storytime choice as well.

ISBN: 9789380340159; Published June 2012 by Tara Books; Borrowed from the library; Added to the library's wishlist
  JeanLittleLibrary | Dec 8, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 938034015X, Hardcover)

Selected as one of 100 Books for Reading & Sharing in 2012 by the New York Public Library.

"Though there's no claim that this art style has any relationship to the original tale, it's an apt match. The book designer adapted the work to the printed page, keeping the intense blood red and ebony black. Each double-page spread takes on an exciting life of its own. A note provides background information on the tale, and an afterword tells the story of the illustrations with photographs of the original cloths. This unusual multicultural pairing packs a powerful punch." - Kirkus Reviews

"I'm the fastest animal in the forest!" boasts Kanchil the trickster mouse deer. "And I challenge any animal to race me!" Who will step forward to accept this challenge, and can Kanchil be beaten?

Illustrated in the exquisite Mata-ni-Pachedi style of ritual textile painting from Gujarat.

The Great Race is the third story in the Kanchil series by Nathan Kumar Scott, preceded by the popular Mangoes and Bananas and The Sacred Banana Leaf.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:59 -0400)

An adaptation of an Indonesian folk tale about Kanchil the mouse deer and Pelan the snail.

(summary from another edition)

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