Otter's Coat: The Real Reason Turtle Raced Rabbit: A Cherolachian Tortoise and Hare by Cordellya Smith

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Otter's Coat: The Real Reason Turtle Raced Rabbit: A Cherolachian Tortoise and Hare by Cordellya Smith

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Category: For Sharing
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: A delightful retelling of the Cherolachian stoary of Tortoise and the Hare. Recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 40 Date: December 2021
Publisher: Independently Published
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-8773030737

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When the world was made, the animals were given gifts. Bear was given strength so that he could become a protector. Water Spider received a strong web that even fire could not burn. Owl had excellent sight so that he could see the present and the future. Rabbit developed intelligence - but, unfortunately, not the ability to use it well. He liked to trick other animals. He was also jealous which was how he came to be in a race with Turtle. You might think that's not a fair contest but wait and see. Things are not always as they seem. I'll tell you how it came about.

Otter only left his home once a year and that was for the Nut Moon Festival because he loved the chestnuts. Rabbit overheard the animals complimenting Otter on his beautiful coat and he was jealous. He wanted that coat and he decided that he would trick Otter into letting him have it. I'll not spoil the story of how he did this - or of how the animals retrieved it - but it neatly illustrates that you don't have to be the direct victim of ill intent to decide that something needs to be done about it.

Turtle and Rabbit were to have a race to decide who should have the coat. It was to be over four mountains and Rabbit was even gracious enough to give Turtle a one-mountain start. It was obvious that he was going to win, wasn't it, so he could afford to be generous. But somehow, Turtle always seemed to be just far enough ahead of him to be out of sight until he got to the top of the next mountain.

It's a lovely story and even when you know how it was done you'll giggle your way through it. It's a very gentle way of showing that it isn't clever to deceive people who might not be as bright as you and - what's more - people don't like you for doing it. They're prepared to gang up on you to pay you back! I know which side most children would rather be on!

There's an added bonus with the book: you get to play Chipmunk hide and seek. Chipmunk and his brothers are hiding in many of the pictures - sometimes more ingeniously than others - and it's great fun to find the little critters. I think I found them all but I had to go through the book several times.

You're probably wondering about the 'Cherolachian' part of the title: I know that I was. Many people who live in Appalachia have a Cherokee ancestor in their family tree. A lot of the first immigrants to the USA were from Ireland and Scotland and eventually, they would fight in the American revolution. After the war, they were given land grants as a bounty and many found themselves living in Appalachia alongside the Native Americans, some of who were Cherokee. The traditions of both were blended into what became 'Cherolachian'. Otter's Coat is a delightful Cherolachian retelling of the story of how Tortoise and Hare came to race.

I'd like to thank the publishers for letting Bookbag have a review copy.

For more retellings of traditional tales, we can recommend Tales for Great Grandchildren by John Jackson and Daniela Jaglenka Terrazzini.

You can read more about Cordellya Smith here.

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Buy Otter's Coat: The Real Reason Turtle Raced Rabbit: A Cherolachian Tortoise and Hare by Cordellya Smith at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Otter's Coat: The Real Reason Turtle Raced Rabbit: A Cherolachian Tortoise and Hare by Cordellya Smith at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.

Buy Otter's Coat: The Real Reason Turtle Raced Rabbit: A Cherolachian Tortoise and Hare by Cordellya Smith at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Otter's Coat: The Real Reason Turtle Raced Rabbit: A Cherolachian Tortoise and Hare by Cordellya Smith at Amazon.com.

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