Who Will Win?

Holiday House. (I Like to Read). Apr. 2023. 32p. Tr $15.99. ISBN 9780823449484.
PreS-Gr 1–Written by a member of the Mohawk Nation, this beginning reader opens with a Native youth asking an elder to tell a story. What follows, based on a Native American tale, features a turtle and a bear racing across a stretch of ice. “Bear has fast legs” and runs over the ice, while Turtle, with his “fast mind,” races beneath. Though Bear speeds along, Turtle is somehow always ahead, popping up through holes in the ice. When Turtle wins, a twist reveals that he had some help along the way, and he shares the prize with Bear. Short, simple sentences and repeated words and phrases make the text accessible to emergent readers. A few Kanien’kéha (Mohawk) words used in the opening and closing are defined on the copyright page. The illustrations, rendered digitally, capture a snowy winter setting in shades of blue, green, and brown, and successfully convey the energy and movement of the race. The bear is particularly expressive.
VERDICT This clever tale should find a place in most collections, especially given the lack of Indigenous voices and representation in the beginning reader format.

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