The Rabbit and the Turtle

Book review by
Patricia Tauzer, Common Sense Media
The Rabbit and the Turtle Book Poster Image
Stellar artist revisits classic read-aloud fables.

Parents say

age 2+
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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Introduces kids to classic fables.

Positive Messages

Slow and steady wins the race.

Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this collection of Aesop fables, as retold and illustrated by Eric Carle, is entertaining, beautiful, and packed with classic stories with great lessons. The story of the rabbit and the turtle doesn't appear until halfway through, after such fables as "The Lion and the Mouse," "The Wolf and the Dog," "The Fox and the Crane," and so on. Older readers will remember them all, and younger readers will enjoy getting acquainted.

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Parent of an infant and 3-year-old Written byIsismami June 1, 2009

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What's the story?

Eleven of Aesop's fables are retold, each in a one-page story followed by its one-line lesson and illustrated with a vibrantly colored collage.

Is it any good?

Bright colors and cleverly detailed collages bring the fables alive, and anyone familiar with the work of Eric Carle will recognize his artwork at once. 

Aesop's fables have been around for centuries, and most readers have heard various versions of them all, especially the one about the turtle racing the hare. By choosing it as the title of his book, and changing it to THE RABBIT AND THE TURTLE, Eric Carle welcomes the reader into his collection and gives it a comfortably modern tone that echoes throughout the book, not only in the storytelling but in the vivid tissue paper collages that fill the pages.

As in the original version, each story is told in a single page, with a moral tagging along at the end. The language is the language of a storyteller, sophisticated enough to be dramatic and charming, yet easy enough to keep any reader interested. With his signature cut-and-layered hand-painted tissue paper, he has created colorfully intriguing scenes that fill the page opposite each story, capturing the essence of the fable. Each one is a joy to look at as the listener lets the lesson of each tale sink in.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the lesson of each fable, whether they agree with it, and whether it fits with the story. Do you think a mouse and a lion could really be friends? Do you have any friends who are bigger and older than you are? How did you become friends? Would you choose to be fancy and well-fed, or free like the wolf? What lesson did the crane teach the fox? What mistake did the mice make? How did the turtle beat the rabbit? What does it mean to be "slow and steady"?

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