Peter the Slug and the Great Forest Race
Jennifer Klath, contributor
Peter the Slug has a dream. An impossible dream. He wants to run in the Great Forest Race. But slugs always finish last. Everyone says so.
In this satisfying underdog story, a green snail named Peter determines to enter the Great Forest Race, alongside several four-legged and winged competitors. Peter’s animal friends—a hawk, mouse, and frog—encourage him to compete (“That is a marvelous idea!” says Maahir, the mouse), but each one also softly reminds him that “slugs always finish last.” Only Cadogan, a crow, shows Peter a true vote of confidence: “You can do it!” he says, before offering a whispered word of advice in Peter’s ear. Solyst keeps her watercolor illustrations modest, using loose washes in gray to create handsome animal portraits against white backgrounds (the greens used for the text and for Peter himself are the only spots of color). A message about persistence and recognizing one’s own outside-the-box talents comes through subtly but clearly as Peter curls into a ball and rolls through the race: “Peter didn’t win... and he didn’t come in second... or third. But he didn’t finish last.” Success, Schultz suggests, is more about innovation and the joy found in performing at one’s best, than it is about coming in first. Ages 4–8. (BookLife)