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Author: Robert Z Hicks

Illustrator: Ruthi Rolseth

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Publisher: R.Z. Enterprises of Florida,

Material: hard cover

Summary: Tommie Turtle is enjoying his day, walking along the shore by the lake. Hoppy Bunny decides to change that. He stops to tease Tommie and dares him to race. Tommie agrees to the challenge. In fact, he pickes the finish line: the tree on the other side of the lake. All of the animals are shocked, and they don't understand why Tommie would do this. Can Tommie really beat the fastest bunny on the lake? This is a book about competition and remaining true to yourself.

Type of Reading: playtime reading, read aloud book

Recommended Age: read together: 4 to 8; read yourself: 6 to 9

Interest Level: 4 to 8

Reading Level: 1.7

Age of Child: Started reading with nearly 7-year-old girl.

Young Reader Reaction: Our daughter immediately honed in on Hoppy Bunny's behavior. She repeatedly illustrated the image of Hoppy Bunny sticking out his tongue. We read this several times, Even with one reading she remembered Ollie Otter's Thinking Questions, and asked us to read them to her.

Adult Reader Reaction: This is a clever story and a nice twist on both the classic Tortoise and the Hare and anti-bullying themes. The author does a very nice job demonstrating the power of kindness and the importance of letting go. There is an underlying message that Tommie is keeping a secret to hold something over Hoppy's head (so he becomes the bully). It would be nice to take the story one more step so that Hoppy publiclylearns his lesson and there are no secrets.

Pros: Everyone can enjoy this picture book about changing a bully into a friend.

Cons: Although we would have preferred that the author told the story WITHOUT rhyme, the format will work well as a book for elementary readers to begin reading on their own.

Borrow or Buy: Borrow, at least. Preschoolers will understand the lessons and enjoy the story. This is also a good book for emerging readers, as it allows them to practice, but it doesn't look like a learning-to-read book.


Educational Themes: This book is available on DVD as a read-along story. This is a story with several layers of lessons, all presented in a way that young kids can understand. The questions at the back are a great starting point for talking about bullying, friendship, secrets, and choices.

Notes: Flesch Kincaid reading level 1.7
Winner: Dragon Pencil Superior Literature (silver), 2007; 2008 Royal Palm Literacy Awards: First Place for Children's Books and Book of the year

Literary Categories: Fiction - picture book, animal characters, life lessons, rhyme, friendship, self worth

Date(s) Reviewed: August 2008

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