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Is There Really A Human Race?    by Jamie Lee Curtis & Laura Cornell order for
Is There Really A Human Race?
by Jamie Lee Curtis
Order:  USA  Can
Joanna Cotler, 2006 (2006)

Read an Excerpt

* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Daninhirsch

The Jamie Lee Curtis/Laura Cornell team has a winner in their latest collaboration, Is There Really a Human Race? It's not that I haven't enjoyed their other books, including I'm Gonna Like Me and When I Was Little, but it is evident that Curtis has really honed her craft over the last few years since she has - like many other celebrities - ventured into the world of children's book writing.

This simple book has something important to tell parents and children: slow down! In this world of overscheduled children and overstressed parents, her message could not be timelier. In a delightful, rhythmically pleasing voice, Curtis poses the question: just where do we all think we are going and why are we in such a hurry to get there?

'Do some of us win? Do some of us lose?
Is winning or losing something I choose?
Why am I racing? What am I winning?
Does all of my running keep the world spinning?

Curtis advises: 'Sometimes it's better not to go fast. / There are beautiful sights to be seen when you're last. / Shouldn't it be that you just try your best? / And that's more important than beating the rest?' She concludes with one of the most beautiful passages I have read in any children's picture book: 'And make friends and love well, / bring art to this place. / And make the world better / For the whole human race.'

Curtis has a knack for understanding a child's way of thinking, and Cornell brings the story to life with her whimsical illustrations. Her drawings expand upon the written storyline as many of the people depicted are diverse in every way from ethnicity to height to hair color. My favorite illustration, at the tail end of the book, depicts a Muslim and an Orthodox Jew playing a game of Go Fish. I highly recommend this gem of a book for its wonderfully insightful story and its pleasing illustrations.

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