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by Nathan Kumar Scott

illustrated by Jagdish Chitara


School Library Journal:

PreS-Gr 2 — Kanchil, a mouse deer, challenges all of the animals of the forest to a race, but only Pelan, a snail, accepts the dare. Kanchil is so sure of himself that he dawdles along the way, only to find Pelan at the finish line. He can’t believe he has lost to a snail and makes a serious effort in a new race. But Pelan wins (with the help of his twin brother) and teaches Kanchil a lesson in humility. The vivid, stylized illustrations, painted in blood red, black, and cream, are the true winners here. Rendered in the style of the Indonesian sacred art form Mata Ni Pachedi (Cloth of the Mother), the animals whirl across the pages. Backgrounds consist of intricately patterned vegetation and undulating hills. Most spreads feature a diagonal composition that gives the story a strong sense of movement. An author’s note explains the unlikely partnership between the author and the illustrator, a member of a traditional group of artisans known as Waghari. Scott’s respect for the art form is reflected in his straightforward text, which tells the story clearly while leaving space for the artwork to shine. The one drawback is the incomplete source note, which states only that Kanchil is a “popular trickster from Indonesian and Malaysian folklore.”—Rachael Vilmar, Easter Shore Regional Library, Salisbury, MD –Rachael Vilmar (Reviewed July 1, 2012) (School Library Journal, vol 58, issue 7, p72)


  • USBBY Outstanding International Books – Grades K-2: 2013


1st Grade, 2nd Grade, Ages 0-8, Folklore, Kindergarten, Pre-Kindergarten