Mama Lion Wins the Race by Jon J. Muth (review)
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Reviewed by
Muth, Jon J Mama Lion Wins the Race; written and illus. by Jon J Muth. Scholastic, 2017 [56p]
ISBN 978-0-545-85282-1 $17.99
Reviewed from galleys R 5-7 yrs

In a cross-country auto race, friends Mama Lion and Tigey face some tough competition, including the Flying Pandinis (two pandas and, inexplicably, a turtle) in their silver coupe, the Knitted Monkeys in their blue roadster, and Bun Bun on her motorcycle. Mama Lion and Tigey easily take the lead in their red Italian-style racer but when they swerve to avoid a butterfly, they lose a wheel. Luckily, the Pandinis kindly stop to lend a paw, and both teams are quickly back on the road. When it looks like Mama Lion and Tigey will win, Mama Lion, knowing that second prize is a lovely cup (perfect for replacing Tigey’s battered cup at home) and wanting to show her appreciation to the Pandinis, gently implies that they should let the panda/turtle team win: “Here is our chance to do something really amazing.” The quirky specifics of the characters add charm and appeal to a story that wears its message lightly. The vibrant art (rendered in pencil, ink, watercolors, and gouache) is expressive and dynamic, and the speed and adrenaline of the race are ably captured in the skillful compositions and occasional blurring of backgrounds. This would be great fodder for discussions about kindness and competition. [End Page 29]

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