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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
Racee Acee and the Toboggan Race by Debbie Hepner with illustrations by Hayley Moore is a lovely children’s book that teaches the value of teamwork. Racee Acee is excited about the upcoming toboggan race and with the help of her best friends, she knows it’ll be the best race yet. There’s just one problem: they need the sled to go faster. They gather on the thinking porch and come up with creative ideas which include bacon grease and crayon wax. Not every plan goes well, such as the bacon grease attracting hungry dogs that chase them down the hill. But Racee and her friends have so much fun working together and with some dedicated teamwork, they come up with a plan just in time for the big race. Plus, it doesn’t hurt to have a little help from Bub the cat.
The illustrations have soft shades and make use of gray and blue for the sky to create a chilly winter feeling as the perfect backdrop for them to prepare for the toboggan race. Vivid details help to establish the different characters with small things that show minor differences in their personalities. Each character is realistically drawn and set against a background that has a subtle and playful aspect to it that gives the winter's day an almost magical tone. Bub is an adorable character who, despite not having any lines, is a total scene-stealer. The writing is simple, providing an easy read for younger children or as a bedtime story. Racee Acee and her friends come up with solutions for making their sled go faster. The ideas they dream up follow a cute child-like logic such as a banana peel because those are slippery, bacon grease, and crayons which will amuse children and mirror their way of thinking.
The plot depicts the process of brainstorming through trial and error with each idea being tried out until they find the one that is the most successful. Racee Acee and her friends don’t accept defeat and even when an idea doesn’t work they simply come up with another plan. This demonstrates the importance of positive thinking and not giving up. Racee Acee and the Toboggan Race by Debbie Hepner explores multiple themes such as teamwork, problem-solving, reward for effort, and friendship which are easy for younger children to understand.