Cover image for The race of toad and deer
The race of toad and deer
Mora, Pat.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Toronto : Douglas & McIntyre, [2001]

Physical Description:
32 unnumbered pages : color illustrations ; 24 x 27 cm
General Note:
"A Groundwood book"
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 3.1 0.5 120020.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PZ8.1.M668 RA 2001 Juvenile Non-Fiction Childrens Area

On Order



Pat Mora and Domi have created a poetic adaptation of the Maya version of the much-loved fable of the tortoise and the hare.The arrogant deer who boasts of his strength and speed is finally challenged to a race by the wily toad. While all the wondrous animals of the jungle -- jaguar, tapir, armadillo and toucan -- gather around to watch, the toad makes a plan. He may not be as large as Venado, but he is very clever and has many friends to help him.

In the end, Sapo defeats the deer, proving the value of brain over brawn. This version of the story was passed down by Don Fernado Tesucun, a Maya-Itzaj man who worked on the excavations of the ruins of Tikal.

Author Notes

Pat Mora is a bilingual author with a special focus on children's literature. Among her awards are Honorary Doctorates from North Carolina State University and SUNY Buffalo, Honorary Membership in the American Library Association, Life-Time Membership in USBBY, a Civitella Ranieri Fellowship to write in Umbria, Italy, and a Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Texas at El Paso. She was a recipient and judge of a Poetry Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and a recipient and advisor of the Kellogg National Leadership Fellowships.

Her children's books include: Water Rolls, Water Rises/El agua rueda, el agua sube. With her daughter, Libby Martinez, Pat also recently wrote I Pledge Allegiance and Bravo, Chico Canta! Bravo!. A literacy advocate, Pat founded Children's Day, Book Day, El día de los niños, El día de los libros often known as Día. The year-long commitment promotes creatively linking all children and families to books, and establishing annual April Children's Day, Book Day celebrations across the country. April 2016 will be Día's 20th Anniversary. Pat's Book Fiesta captures the Día spirit.

A former teacher, university administrator, museum director, and consultant, Pat is a popular national speaker who promotes creativity, inclusivity and bookjoy.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 4-7. In this lively Guatemalan version of the brains-over-brawn theme, a team of resourceful toads outsmart the swiftest deer in the jungle. When powerful Venado the deer challenges Sapo the toad to a race, Sapo's toad friends help their buddy trick the boastful deer by hiding out along the race path and leaping in front of Venado as he passes. Hearing each Sapo impersonator call back to him, Venado races faster and faster in an attempt to keep up, only to see the real Sapo pass him by as he staggers toward the finish. The Guatemalan jungle setting comes to life through eye-catching illustrations characterized by bold colors and flat outlined shapes. A nice addition to any folktale collection, particularly one lacking quality children's literature from Central American cultures. (Reviewed Oct. 15. 1995)0531094774Lauren Peterson

Publisher's Weekly Review

In this Guatemalan variation on the tortoise-and-hare fable, the laurels go not to virtuous persistence but to crafty teamwork. When Venado, an overconfident deer, challenges the mischievous toad Sapo to a running contest, Sapo enlists the help of his friends. Unbeknown to Venado, toads hide along the race course. As Venado springs ahead, he goads Sapo by calling back, ``Adelante, Tío Sapo, forward!'' But each call is mysteriously answered by a Sapo-like voice ahead: ``Adelante, Tío Venado, forward!'' Utterly disoriented, Venado races faster and faster, wearing himself out before he reaches the finish. Lightly peppered with Spanish expressions, Mora's (The Desert Is My Mother) text is organically bicultural. But Sapo's crucial scheme is nearly buried in an encyclopedic cast of rainforest characters, confusing the focus of the story. First-time illustrator Brooks, who spent much of her youth in Guatemala, smooths over the busy text with bold folk paintings. Flat, rounded compositions absorb the heat of her quasi-electric palette, containing the motion within an festive, well-modulated tempo. Ages 2-6. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 1-This retelling of a Guatemalan folktale is reminiscent of ``The Tortoise and the Hare.'' Here, the deer, Tío Venado, challenges the toad, Tío Sapo, to a race. Clever Sapo enlists the aid of his toad friends, and wins. Native animals such as toucans, spider monkeys, tapirs, and jaguars line the purple path to watch as Venado is tricked into defeat. With the addition of these many South American beasts as well as of italicized Spanish words, the text works hard to make this book a cross-cultural experience. Stylized paintings use fanciful opaque colors and decorative patterns to give the story zesty life. The simplified cartoonlike animals parading across the double-page spreads are fun but may leave a child questioning their true identity. The toucan himself is colored differently on each appearance. While the book is visually attractive, it falls short of providing a rich adventure.-Martha Topol, Northwestern Michigan College, Traverse City, MI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.