Fable Fare! Lion Vs. Rabbit by Alex Latimer
LION WAS MEAN TO EVERYONE.
Lion is the scourge of the savanna. the prankster of the plains, out to humiliate all the other animals, he even dares to play his dirty tricks on creatures faster and bigger than he is.
ONE AFTERNOON HE GAVE BUFFALO A WEDGIE.
Something must be done, the animals agree, and they advertise an award for anyone who can put Lion in his place.
But none of the applicants--Baboon, Musk Ox, Giraffe, even Elephant--have the right stuff to lay it on Lion.
Finally, Rabbit applies. Lion struts at the size of his new opponent.
"YOU'RE SMALL! I WILL LET YOU CHOOSE THE CONTEST," SAYS LION.
"ALL RIGHT," SAYS RABBIT.
Rabbit challenges Lion to a marshmallow-eating contest. Lion downs three baskets, but Rabbit somehow manages to put away ten!
Lion whines that his stomach was feeling queasy, so Rabbit comes up with another challenge, a quiz show. Lion blanks out, and Rabbit offers two more trials--hopping, and painting. Lion predictably poops out at hopping, and loses the art competition when Rabbit reproduces a rabbit-eared Mona Lisa. Lion complains and offer excuses until Rabbit gives him the chance to choose the next contest, winner take all.
Lion chooses a race to the nearby snow capped mountain peak.
But despite Lion's considerable speed and endurance, Rabbit somehow seems to be always on the ledge just ahead of him. How does he DO it?
Alex Latimer's Lion vs Rabbit (Peachtree Publishing, 2014) offers up a tongue-in-cheek twist on the old fable of "The Tortoise and the Hare," with a modern emphasis on outwitting the local bully. Latimer's illustrations offer funny details (Buffalo in his whitie tighties, for example) and wryly foreshadow how Rabbit manages to outdo his rival, with teasing glimpses of the many assorted co-conspirator rabbits partially hidden on his pages, pointing up the role of the power of numbers as well as power of sly wit in doing in a bully. This one is both a beating-the-bully at his own game and a humorous new-fangled fractured fable for young readers.