Cheetah Can't Lose

by Bob Shea (Author) Bob Shea (Illustrator)

Cheetah Can't Lose
Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

It's race day, and once and for all, it's time to determine the better feline: little cats or big cheetah.

Cheetah might be bigger, taller, stronger, faster . . . but the little cats have some tricks up their sleeves, so don't count them out! With his signature wit and bold, graphic art, Bob Shea brings us an irresistible story about the difference between brains and brawn.

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Publishers Weekly

Cheetah is insufferably competitive. When he hears that his two little cat friends are excited about the "big race day, " he interjects, "The one I always win because I am big and fast and you always lose because you are little and cats?" To teach Cheetah a lesson, the cats devise a series of increasingly humiliating tricks, masked as competitions, that capitalize on Cheetah's clueless arrogance, weighing him down with heavy "winner shoes," a vision-obscuring crown, several pies, and an ice cream sundae. Suddenly mortified to see Cheetah robbed of his self-image (an epiphany that gives the title a deeper meaning), the cats name him the winner of the day. Shea, returning to the more textured and stylized characterizations of Race You to Bed (2010), has the cats' scheme unfold against a crisp white backdrop; propping is minimal, and subtle drop shadows provide the only clues of a stable sense of gravity. The story's thought-provoking conclusion is equally striking, albeit subtly argued: even a richly deserved comeuppance can go too far, and real friends overlook one another's foibles. Ages 4-8. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Mar.)

Copyright 2013 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

School Library Journal

PreS-Gr 3--Cheetah always has to win. On the title page, readers see him looking in the mirror flexing his muscles. Meanwhile his two kitten friends have something up their furry sleeves as their kyuuto shushing faces reveal. In color-coded dialogue, they announce (their colors intertwined) that it is the day of the big race. The retro artwork is kid-friendly, flat with textures as if done in crayon, with lots of little motion lines, and a palette of mostly orange and blue, all creating a flow of action. The two kittens know Cheetah oh so well, and entertain themselves (at his expense) before the big race by sponsoring various other competitions, all contrived to slow him down. They use a mixture of cunning and flattery, awarding Cheetah with such prizes as wooden platforms they call winner shoes. The pacing is energetic and lively-untethered by any setting and formulated for those young listeners who would rather be tearing across the yard than sitting and reading. Written for those who must endure the antics of younger ones who pout and cry if they lose, this title is an apt choice to open a discussion about dealing compassionately with someone who always has a competitive edge.--Sara Lissa Paulson, The American Sign Language and English Lower School, New York City

Copyright 2013 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

Bob Shea

Bob Shea has written and illustrated more than a dozen picture books, including Dinosaur vs. Bedtime, and is the author of Big Plans, illustrated by Lane Smith. His writing career began at Comedy Central, and his characters and animations have appeared on Nick Jr., Playhouse Disney, and PBS Kids.

Lane Smith is a four-time recipient of the New York Times Best Illustrated Book award and a two-time Caldecott Honor recipient, most recently for Grandpa Green. He is the author and illustrator of Abe Lincoln's Dream and It's a Book, which ahs been translated into over twenty languages, among many other books.

Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Balzer & Bray/Harperteen
Publication date
February 20, 2013
BISAC categories
JUV019000 - Juvenile Fiction | Humorous Stories
JUV002050 - Juvenile Fiction | Animals | Cats
JUV001000 - Juvenile Fiction | Action & Adventure
Library of Congress categories
Humorous stories
Winning and losing

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