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 3-6. This Mayan spin on the story of the tortoise and hare was published in another version by Mora in 1995 under the same title. Here, Mora's rewritten text matches up with new illustrations in a bright new edition that is great for reading aloud. When Sapo the toad and Venado the deer challenge each other to a race, Sapo enlists the help of his jungle friends, outsmarts Venado, and wins. There's no gloating, though. Venado learns his lessons about pride and humility, but he's still cheered on and accepted by the others. The new text is well paced, lyrical, and sprinkled with Spanish phrases that kids can easily pick up. Some children may have trouble identifying the animal figures in the wild patterns of Domi's childlike, abstract watercolors, especially at a distance. But most little ones will respond to the cheery action and energy in the spreads, painted in sun-saturated, brilliant shades. --Gillian Engberg

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

Gr 3-5-With one glance at Moses's folk paintings, adult audiences will immediately make the connection to his great-grandmother, Anna Mary Robertson-Grandma Moses. His landscapes depicting 19th-century America are lovely panoramas with rosy sunsets, blossoming orchards, and pointillist snowstorms. The scenes with multiple figures are weaker, particularly the spread with John Chapman and his half sister's family of 13; Moses's idiosyncrasies of scale (among people of different ages and between figures and the background) are more apparent. Nevertheless, the artist's style is well suited to his subject-the life story of the humble, homespun planter. With its reverent tone and folk art, it is most like Reeve Lindbergh's Johnny Appleseed (Little, Brown, 1993), although Moses's text is prose, and its length makes it more appropriate for older readers. The difficulty in distinguishing between fact and fiction is dealt with through introductory phrases, such as: "It's awfully hard to know which stories are true-" and "Just maybe-." Much information is imparted, from Chapman's childhood losses, heavenly vision, and relationship to Native Americans to stories about his frolicking with bear cubs and floating his canoe down the river on an ice chunk. A brief bibliography and an author's note are appended. A worthy addition.-Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.