The Fastest Tortoise in Town by Howard Calvert – Book Review

The Fastest Tortoise in Town by Howard Calvert – Book Review

The Fastest Tortoise in Town by Howard Calvert

The Fastest Tortoise in Town

I received a free copy of this book.
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The familiar fable of the tortoise and the hare gets a charming and funny new spin.

Barbara Hendricks has entered a running race … but what was she thinking?! After all, she’s a tortoise – and everyone knows tortoises are the slowest of the slow. But for some reason, Lorraine – her best friend and owner – believes in her, and inspires her to train a little more each day. And when race day arrives, Lorraine’s support is enough to stop Barbara popping back into her shell. ln fact, Barbara soon discovers that with encouragement (and a bit of race day luck!), anything is possible!

Howard Calvert’s dry and funny first-person narration is paired with Karen Obuhanych’s vibrant and luscious artwork in this sweet origin story full of surprises.

Review by Stacey

The Fastest Tortoise in Town is a children’s picture book that centres around Barbara Hendricks, a leopard tortoise, and her owner Lorraine. Barbara has entered a race and now finds herself plagued with worry and self-doubt, convinced she will finish last. In response, Lorraine dedicates a week to training and preparing Barbara for the upcoming competition.

However, come the day of the race Barbara is hiding in her shell as she is too scared to go to the race. Can Lorraine’s grit, belief, and determination help Barbara get to the starting line?

This is one of those stories where as an adult you think tortoises can’t speak and communicate with people and then you go, aha, it is a children’s book and anything is possible. And so here we are reading all about Barbara the Leopard Tortoise and her feelings.

The storyline is good fun and I love how it teaches children about never giving up, and that sometimes what seems impossible really is possible. The ending, wherein a hare proposes a race to Barbara, adds a delightful twist.

Overall, The Fastest Tortoise in Town is a vibrant and colourful children’s book that is entertaining, has amazing characters, and contains many valuable life skills.

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Howard Calvert

Howard Calvert

As a child, Howard was a big Richard Scarry fan, and still considers Lowly Worm a close confidante, even if he is an anthropomorphic worm. He now writes his own children’s books, mainly while on the train to work, and in 2015 was runner-up in the Greenhouse Funny Prize.

He lives in Hampshire with his wife and two daughters, and enjoys getting covered in mud in the countryside while trail running or mountain biking, eating his own bodyweight in cinnamon buns, riding his Brompton and destroying his kitchen while baking.

When not writing children’s books, Howard writes about adventure and travel, health and fitness and food and drink for newspapers, magazines and websites such as The Telegraph, Red Bull, Get Sweat Go, Trail Running Magazine and The Week Junior. He was formerly on ShortList, where he beat an electric bike to Brighton while on a road bike, and made a pilgrimage in one of three Minis to where the Italian Job was filmed.

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