If you’re looking for a high-adrenaline, fast-paced afternoon, the racetrack is a good place to go…especially when a lively group of stuffed animals are the drivers! The protagonists in Caldecott Honoree Jon J Muth’s latest acclaimed picture book, Mama Lion Wins the Race, don’t disappoint; the mischievous sock monkeys will do whatever it takes to get ahead of the crowd, the pandas prove their engineering acumen when tires go flying, and Mama Lion dispenses gentle wisdom at a crucial moment.
As Jon J Muth told us in a recent interview, these character quirks actually had very specific origins—they were based on his children’s own toys!
“Mama Lion has been with my son since he was about 3 months old. His twin sister has had Tigey for almost as long. They are ten now. They play a game called the 'Friends Club' where all of their stuffed animals go on adventures together. As they’ve grown up, the stuffed animals have developed very specific personalities and I thought it would be fun to tell a story about them.”
Learn more about each animal’s character traits by reading Jon’s descriptions below, and see them come to life by entering for a chance to win one of five signed copies of Mama Lion Wins the Race! Each copy has a different hand-drawn illustration from Jon J Muth. You can find details at the bottom of the post.
To learn more about Mama Lion Wins the Race, click here.
A smart gentle, fabulous kind of peacemaker.
If the other stuffed animals were having a problem, Mama Lion seemed to be able to bring them together.
The Knitted Monkey Crew:
Sweet, helpful characters…when they are separate.
Hans was always happy, up for anything. Bumper was very generous and strong so he’d help the animals who were small by carrying groceries, or lifting heavy stuff for them. And Happy-Go-Lucky was a thoughtful and quiet fellow with a wacky sense of humor.
BUT, when the Monkeys got together, things invariably got out of hand. Bad choices were increased exponentially.
The Flying Pandinis:
A family of mechanically inclined pandas.
They include Boppy, who is a turtle (I assume adopted?). He speaks a foreign language (foreign to everyone), he's always curious, and flexible, and good at remaining calm.
Brother Bao Bao and his sister, Baby Panda:
Bao Bao is a bold and loyal fellow. Baby Panda is the organizer. She has definite supervisor/managerial skills
In honor of Mama Lion Win’s the Race’s recent publication, we're giving away five copies—each with a hand-drawn illustration by Jon—to five random winners! To enter the sweepstakes, leave us a comment below telling us the name of your favorite stuffed animal when you were a child!
One entry per person. All entries must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. ET on Friday, October 13, 2017. U.S. residents, 18 and over, please. See the complete legal rules here.