Pinkney, Jerry. 2013. THE TORTOISE & THE HARE. New York: Little, Brown, and Company. ISBN 9780316183567 [Suggested Grade Levels PreK-3]
Pinkney retells Aesop’s fable, The Tortoise & the Hare using few words. His detailed illustrations narrate this adaptation set in the American Southwest. The local animal community gathers to witness the race between the hare and the tortoise. The tortoise maintains a slow and steady pace, while the hare races ahead. Unfortunately for the hare, his overconfidence causes him to become easily distracted by temptations along the way: exploring, eating, and napping. The tortoise’s diligence results in him winning the race.
Pinkney’s adaption stands apart from other authors’ and artists’ versions due to the detail rendered from the use of multiple mediums: watercolor, pencil, gouache, pastel, and graphite. Words are not needed to fully comprehend the literal and figurative meanings of this story.
This version lends itself to developing visual literacy skills through oral or written story telling. It would supplement a science discussion on semi-arid climates, a civics discussion on morals, and/or a literature discussion on fables.
Other exciting wordless picture books for young children:
Becker, Aaron. JOURNEY. ISBN 9780763660536
Wiesner, David. MR. WUFFLES. ISBN 9780618756612
By Jennifer E. Richey