The big race by David Barrow
Hodder, 2019. ISBN 9781444929294.
(Age: 4+). Recommended. Themes: Competition. Friendship. On race day Lion takes down the name of all those strong, big and fast animals who wish to enter the race. At the starting line are the fastest, biggest and strongest animals, Lion, Cheetah, Crocodile and Buffalo, each determined to win. But alongside these animals is the little Aardvark, scoffed at by the others. He is just as determined, and as the field sets off, he is just behind the pack, running hard to stay with them.
He swims, traverses the waterfall, rides his bike, all keeping in touch with the rest of the field, and when they ascend in their hot air balloons, he is there beside them in his personal lifting apparatus. But when this goes pop and he lands near the finishing line the others are in a struggle to get over the line, ending up in a big scramble of heads and feet, bodies and tongues, but who came first?
Children will love to read of this take on the tortoise and hare story, as the Aardvark takes on the mighty animals, pitting his strengths against theirs. The funny illustrations will be a treat for all readers, adults included, as they see allusions to the range of sports played out each day on our TV set, people vying with each other, pitting their abilities against the others, all for a medal at the end.