Jackrabbit McCabe and the Electric Telegraph written by Lucy Margaret Rozier and illustrated by Leo Espinosa (2015)
Jackrabbit McCabe was the fastest man in Windy Flats. He could outrun every horse in a horserace, a locomotive, and even a tornado. Whenever there was an important message to be sent across town or to a nearby town, Jackrabbit McCabe was the man for the job. Then one day, the telegraph company came to Windy Flats. They hung electrical wires across the land and a telegraph operator to send and receive Morse code. No one believed the telegraph could be faster than Jackrabbit McCabe so a race was organized to send a message to Sandy Bluff. Jackrabbit McCabe shot off the mark and left the town in a cloud of dust, carrying his message to the mayor of Sandy Bluff. But when he got there, he found the same message already tacked to the door. The telegraph had beat him to it. Jackrabbit McCabe was so heartbroken he took the slowest coach home to Windy Flats. But when he arrived, the mayor asked him to be the new telegraph operator. He figured if Jackrabbit McCabe’s legs were fast, his fingers would be fast too. So Jackrabbit studied the Morse Code and became the town’s fastest telegraph operator!
This story takes on the tall tale flavor of Paul Bunyan and Pecos Bill. The exaggerated details of Jackrabbit McCabe’s speed will have older picture book readers in stitches. Don’t be surprised if they start having races to see who’s the fastest kid on the block. It also gives today’s generation a look back in time before telephones and internet.
Make racing fun for kids with some of these ideas.