Long ago, in Puerto Rico, the animals ate, slept, and snacked all day—every day. The queen of the forest, the parrot, knew this wasn’t good so she challenged them to a race. They each had great skills—the snake slithered, the pelican cawed, and the turtle just yawned—but they were excited and got ready to run. Everyone strutted their stuff except the frogs. No one paid attention them. They were too tiny. Could this be their chance to get noticed?
An origin story about Puerto Rico’s iconic coquí frog.
In this story, Lázaro presents an original legend surrounding the coquí. Like many legends, it starts “long, long ago” at a time when “life was so easy that the animals didn’t have to do much but eat, sleep, nap, and snack.” Naturally, this behavior leads to a lethargy that does not please the queen of the forest, the parrot. And a race is announced. One representative from each type of animal will race. Whichever one wins, all of its type will get “a fantastic prize.” With many an onomatopoeic sound, the competitors exercise and get ready for the big day, all except for the quiet little frogs. Their representative hops, jumps, and leaps with glee on its face, but no sound issues from its throat. It will come as no surprise to readers—but is no less satisfying—to find the little frog wins the race. And, the prize? Why, the sound that visitors to the island to this very day can still hear: “coquí.” Bright and colorful illustrations beautifully capture the Puerto Rican rainforest setting, rendered mostly in double-page spreads. The movement-filled illustrations are as dynamic as the race itself, with display type adding playful emphasis.