by Leyland Perree
Stuart McGhee, illustrator
Back Cover: When Eel and Ock join a host of other memorable sea-creatures in a thrilling, madcap, splash to the finish line, they soon discover that friendship, fair play and having fun are sometimes more important than winning.
First Sentence: Far beneath the ocean waves
. And in the underwater caves,
. Exciting news was spreading fast:
. The Great Reef Race is here at last!”
Best friends Eel and Ock have been training for quite some time and finally the day has arrived. They line up at the starting line with other fish and sea creatures for The Great Reef Race. Fair play is important as the racers take off, but as soon as the atmosphere underwater turns dark, the sharks begin to force themselves ahead by pushing and shoving. What the sharks do not know will cause them great pain. Up ahead is a seawall ready to knock out the sharks, if only for a while.
On the way back to the finish line, an old marooned shipping vessel is in the ocean causing a blockage. The whale sees an opening amid the wreckage and forges on . . . only to be stuck in the too small hole. All the other participants circle around the mess and the whale, heading for the finish line. Eel and Ock cannot leave their friend, the whale, stuck inside the hole with his face on one side and his rump on the other. Using ink from Ock—he’s an octopus—Eel and Ock grease the whale until they can push him through the hole. The sharks have caught up after the seawall knocked them out for a while. To win this, Eel and Ock are going to have to push themselves to super-hero-speed. Will all their preparation and training help Eel or Ock win The Great Reef Race?
The Great Reef Race is a cute tale about friendship, winning and losing, and sportsmanship. Eel and Ock are best friends. Like most young (children) best friends, they do everything together. When the whale gets himself hopelessly stuck, Eel and Ock could have gone around like the rest of the racers, but decided to stay and help a friend. Friendship is one of the best themes of the story. Once they free the whale, they resume the race, as happy and energetic as they were at the start. The two were being good sports. They continue to race their best, happy to have run the race.
I like the crazy racers and the speed of the race. It reminded me of the Cannonball Race through the Nevada desert. Those racers were off-the-wall crazy and fun, just like the fish and sea creatures in The Great Reef Race. The text does a good job of calling the race using rhyming verse with consistent timing.
Children will love the bright, colorful, wacky racers and the theme of best friends, friendship, winning and losing, and being a good sport. Those themes occur daily on the school playground. The Great Reef Race will make a great bedtime story, a before the game reminder of fair play and playing for the fun of the game. In school, The Great Reef Race can help teachers explain good sportsmanship, cheating, putting friendships above the competition, and being a good loser. Kids win love The Great Reef Race for the wacky story that will have them belly laughing right through the end. Multiple readings will not be a chore for this winning children book.
Leyland Perree website pubbio facebook twitter Stuart McGhee, illustrator website blog facebook pubbio Ghostly Publishing website blog facebook twitter Released March 26, 2013 ISBN: 978-1-909587-26-7 36 Pages - 20 Pages eBook Ages: 2 to 6 . Copyright © 2013 by Ghostly Publishing, used with permission. Text: Copyright © 2012 by Leyland Perree llustrations: Copyright © 2012 by Stuart McGee