The Last Shall Be First: The Jungle Run by Tony Mitton
HERE COME THE ANIMALS, ONE BY ONE.
ALL GETTING READY FOR THE JUNGLE RUN.
CUB TURNS UP TO TAKE HER PLACE.
BUT THE OTHERS SAY,"YOU'RE TOO SMALL TO RACE!"
But this is an obstacle race, requiring agility and speed, and you'd think large, lumbering animals like Elephant, Hippo, and Rhino would show a little less hubris when dealing with the petite but eager Cub. Undeterred by their put-downs, Cub lines up with the others.
You just know that this underdog, er, undercub, is going to show up all the big boys. She's not above a little sports psychology, either, as she plaintively cries
"WAIT FOR ME!"
But when it comes to nimbleness, little Cub has it all over the big guys. The others get tangled and twisted in the net, but Cub waltzes through and takes the lead. At the rope swing over the stream, she's a natural born swinger, as Elephant manages to break the rope and winds up taking an unforeseen dip in the water below.
Cub is so far in the lead that after a teasing wave to the also rans, she doubles back to the waterslide to take a trip down the rapids on Elephant's shoulders. He, however, steers out of control and takes a tumble, while Cub winds up safe and dry, on the other side, just in time to speed over the finish line first! Yahoo! She who laughs last laughs best, as Cub greets the rest of the disheveled racers gleefully:
"WHAT TOOK YOU SO LONG?
But in this jolly jog, there is jungle juice and cake at the end, and all is forgiven as the contestants mingle in a happy mob at the finish line festivities, in Tony Mitton's The Jungle Run (Orchard Books, 2012). Everyone loves an underdog, and in this cheery takeoff on the old Hare and Tortoise tale, thanks to Guy Parker-Rees' merry and bright illustrations, everyone is a winner. Little ones who sometimes hate being the smallest in every game will especially enjoy Cub's triumph.
Labels: Animal Stories (Ages 2-5)