Sunday, March 24, 2019

Review - Mama Lion Wins the Race

Mama Lion Wins the Race
by Jon J. Muth
Date: 2017
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 56
Format: e-book
Source: library

Start your engines: the race is on! And Mama Lion and Tigey are off -- with their cool goggles and snazzy sports car!

Racing teams gather from far and wide for this madcap race. But who will win the trophy cup? Will it be the playful Flying Pandinis? The mischievous Knitted Monkey Crew? Or will Mama Lion and Tigey speed past the finish line in first place?

As Tigey says, "winning is winning," but sometimes the journey itself -- filled with ineffable moments of mystery, beauty, and joy -- is even more fun than getting the prize.

With cars inspired by the early days of Italian motor-racing and characters based on his children's beloved toy animals, Jon J Muth has created a uniquely spellbinding book young readers will return to again and again.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

I enjoyed this one more than I thought I would. Although it is longer than the average picture book, it didn't really seem that long because of the nice story and beautiful illustrations.

Mama Lion and Tigey, a couple of toys, enter a road race against a number of others, including some sock monkeys and a stuffed bunny on a motorbike. They race through a landscape that looks decidedly Italian (those particular pictures are very pretty), while dealing with car trouble and sabotage from some of the other competitors.

You know those feel-good stories where a competitor in a running race stop to help another, giving up their lead in the process? That's exactly what happens here, and the favour is eventually returned. The title of the book takes on a new meaning that isn't quite as obvious at first glance. Competition and winning turns out to be not as important as friendship and doing the right thing. (And I like the little character quirk of Bun Bun and how it brings the end of the book to a sweet close.)

I haven't read much by Muth, other than Zen Ghosts, which I found to be a little bit creepy with the children being lured to an out-of-the-way house on Halloween. But the illustrations were lovely there, and they're just as strong here. I would check out more of the author's books just for the pictures alone.

Overall, this is a sweet story about friendship, cooperation, and how you really "win" a race.

Quotable moment:

Premise: 4/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 4/5
Illustrations: 4/5
Originality: 4/5

Enjoyment: 4/5

Overall: 4 out of 5

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