Even though Stella's bike is much faster than Roy's, he manages to win their race around the park because she keeps stopping to enjoy its natural beauty.
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In the park one Sunday, Stella challenges her younger brother to a race around the lake. Given that she is riding a big-wheel trike while Roy's toddler-style four-wheeler is pushed rather than peddled ("It was built for coasting," the narrator explains), Stella's victory seems certain. But the curious girl is distracted by several natural displays, among them an assembly of turtles, gulls and a frog; a group of fish in a pool below a waterfall; a gaggle of friendly geese; and a policewoman's horse. Roy wins the race, but he shares his prize--a box of popcorn--with his sister. Far more impressive than Wolff's ( A Year of Birds ; Come with Me ) pleasant though somewhat thin plot line are her polished linoleum block prints, hand-tinted with watercolor. Featuring the fresh, earthy colors of spring, these distinctive illustrations convey both the motion of the children and the still beauty of the park. Ages 2-5.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Aesop's ``The Hare and the Tortoise'' is reenacted by two preschoolers racing ``around the lake,'' in what could be a San Francisco park, to a popcorn stand. Stella's ``bike'' is a chunky three-wheeler; she's quick but stops often to admire gulls and turtles, goldfish and geese. With Dad's help, Roy comes along on a toddler's slow mount; though he smiles and waves at friendly dogs and babies, he ``roll[s] right on by.'' ``Rotten egg!'' he yells as Stella reaches the goal, but when she says, ``Please,'' he shares his popcorn. It's a happy outing all around, with lots of birds and animals to spot in Wolff's handsome linoleum prints. These outgoing, self-assured kids are beautifully observed; depicted in definitive black with joyfully bright added colors, their excursion makes a cheerful, attractive book. (Picture book. 3-7) -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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