Mama Lion Wins the Race by Jon J. Muth

Published by Scholastic Press

Summary:  Stuffed animals Mama Lion and Tigey are ready for the big car race, going up against such stiff competition as Bun Bun, the Flying Pandinis, and the Knitted Monkeys.  When the flag waves, they’re off, and Mama Lion and Tigey take the lead.  Losing a wheel sets them back, though, and they’re grateful when the Pandinis take a break from the race to help them.  They enter once again, and the race becomes closer than ever as they approach the finish line (with the Knitted Monkeys trying a few unscrupulous tricks to win).  The finish proves perfect for everyone, as Mama Lion and Tigey learn that winning isn’t always the most important result.  56 pages; ages 4-8.

Pros:  Jon Muth takes a break from his Zen picture books to create a detailed world of stuffed animals and a memorable race.  Gentle lessons are inserted through the story, reminding readers that the journey is more important than the final destination and friendships are more valuable than finishing first.

Cons:  American children may not know what a “spanner” is when one is used to repair the broken wheel.

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