I thought this book was going to be about race relations but it was actually a play on the words “human race”. It begins at a park where a little boy asks his mother, “Is there really human race.”
The next page reads, “Is it going on now all over the place? When did it start? Who said, ‘Ready, Set, Go’?”
He continues talking about warm-ups, coaches, practicing and training. He asks about location, participants, winners and losers, rules, and if they are all going to crash.
Then it reads, “Sometimes it’s better not to go fast. There are beautiful sites to be seen when you’re last. Shouldn’t it be that you just try your best? And that’s more important than beating the rest? Shouldn’t it be looking back at the end that you judge her own race by the help that you lend.” It continues in this theme until the last line says, “and make the world a better place for the whole human race.”
The words were clever, well paced, rhythmic, and important. The rhyming was flawless. The message was delivered beautifully.
The book was illustrated by Laura Cornell who used pencil and watercolor. The pictures were full of dynamic and zany movement. Many of the pages had stories within the illustrations. Some crowded double-page spreads took quite a while to absorb. She definitely got across the idea of the insanity of competition and pushing ourselves as fast as possible.
Inside the back cover is a “world yearbook” that features various pictures of children and their career choices such as tech support, circus clown, mud brick master, astronaut, career criminal, clog dancer and nuclear physicist. Every portrait is bursting with personality.
All in all, this was a wonderful surprise. Highly recommended.