On the morning of his big day,
Tortoise leapt out of bed straight away
For today on stage with his guitar,
He would become a singing superstar!
Tortoise has completed auditions and is to sing and play his guitar at a talent competition. He attributes at least part of his success to his wig, but as he prepares for his big day, he cannot find it anywhere. As he searches, trying not to panic, other animals discover his wig on the bus. The wig begins a journey of its own, being tested and rejected by several potential wearers before Tortoise’s friend Hare finds it. He knows just how much importance Tortoise attaches to the wig, so he speeds to the auditorium to return it. Tortoise, although nervous without his wig, is ‘wowing’ the judges and Hare realises that the wig he has retrieved is no longer needed. Tortoise shines without it! Tortoise and the Hairis told in rhyme with full colour illustrations which include many other animals.
Tortoise and the Hair is a very different take on a traditional tale, although elements of the original can still be found. Instead of the message being about ‘slow and steady’ winning the race, Tortoise is held up by his need for his ‘good luck’ wig. Hare’s speediness is employed, not in racing Tortoise, but by returning his wig to him. This is a colourful story with a gentle reminder that external decorations ‘make not the man’. There are also themes of friendship and nods to other stories. A fun story for pre- and early readers.
Tortoise and the Hair, P. Crumble ill Louis Shea Scholastic Australia 2014 ISBN: 9781743625286
review by Claire Saxby, Children’s author and bookseller