Posted by: Kathy Temean | December 23, 2018

Book Giveaway: Which Animal is Fastest?

Illustrator Carolyn Le has a new picture book titled, WHICH ANIMAL IS FASTEST? It is available in bookstores now. Carolyn has agreed to share a book with one lucky winner. All you have to do to get in the running is to leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know the other things you do to share the good news, so I can put in the right amount of tickets in my basket for you.

Sharing on Facebook, Twitter, reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book. Thanks for helping Carolyn!


Quick, name the world’s fastest animal! Did you say cheetah? If so, you’re right – sort of. Sure, the cheetah can reach speeds over 70 miles per hour (mph); but did you know that there is a species of bird that can fly faster than a race car? Did you know that that’s not even the fastest animal there is? This “dashing dozen” of nature’s speediest species examines the fastest on land, air, and sea. This story will resonate with children taking standardized tests…one size does not fit all!


When I received the manuscript for Which Animal is Fastest? by Chris Rock from Arbordale Publishing, I was excited to work on a fictional story that also included factual information about animals. These were my favorite types of books to read growing up.

After reading the manuscript, I envisioned images of an Olympic stadium with animals dressed in their sports uniforms and standing on a podium receiving their medals. To make sure that I was on the same page with the editor, I emailed her. Good thing I listened to my inner voice! This was not what the editor was envisioning at all! She explained that because Arbordale publishes books for the educational market, they prefer realistic illustrations over anthropomorphic animals. So It was back to the drawing board.

This brought on some challenges because now I was illustrating twelve different animals in various sizes and shapes from a humming bird that can fit into the palm of my hand to a lion that is larger than a full grown human­­––all accurately drawn and interacting on the same page. Another challenge was to convey emotions because I felt this would add to the visual storytelling. And I needed to do this in a way that did not look cartoonish or over exaggerated to the point where it didn’t look natural to the animal.

I gathered images of animals from books and off the internet and started sketching them in different poses and with different expressions. My goal was to be able to understand the dynamics of the animals. I wanted to be able to tweak their facial expressions and body language in a way that still feels and looks natural to them. One example is spread 22-23 when the animals are arguing with each other and King Lion is frustrated.

Once I felt I had a good understanding of the animals and how I wanted to portray them, I got creative with the composition. In spreads where I needed to show all the animals together, I played with perspective. And in the spreads where I had to show animals disproportionate in size to each other, I did close-ups and cropping. I kept everything looking consistent by continuing the horizon line and by including the savanna inspired landscape throughout the book.

All the research and study sketches I did in the early stages really made it easier and more fun to illustrate this book. And the extra information/activity the editor included at the end of the book added to the fun experience of reading Which Animal is Fastest?.


Carolyn Le received two first-place Illustration Awards for her portfolio from SCBWI SoCal and a Merit Award from the Society of Illustrators of Los Angeles. Her paintings hung in galleries in Los Angeles (Gallery Nucleus), Pasadena (da Center for the Arts) and London (Gabriella Fine Arts).

She also received an Honorable Mentioned Author’s Award from SCBWI and won a mentorship with author Camille Andros (The Dress and Charlotte the Scientist is Squished) through The Writing with the Stars online contest. When she’s not writing or illustrating, she likes to bask in the Southern California sunshine, watch shows like Project Runway and Expedition Unknown, mess with her nieces and nephews and bake chocolate chip cookies.

Thank you, Carolyn for sharing your book, journey, and illustrations. Brian Rock is one lucky author to have your gorgeous illustrations to bring his book to life. Best of luck with the book.

Talk tomorrow,



  1. Loved reading about the process of illustrating this book!


  2. Go Carolyn! I look forward to seeing many more.


  3. I’ve always been fascinated by the speed of the cheetah. Watching them run in slow motion is so exhilarating! Thanks for the chance to win a copy of this book!
    I tweeted a link to this post:, and pinned an image on Pinterest as well:
    Thanks again, happy holidays everyone!!


  4. What an intriguing idea for a book! I like the illustration style a great deal – the animals are realistic but still express human emotions.


  5. Looks great! Gorgeous illustrations.


  6. Sounds like a wonderful book. I’d love to be in the drawing!


  7. Beautiful illustrations Carolyn! ♡


  8. Wonderful post. Thanks. I do love books like this. I will be looking for this one.


  9. Thank you for sharing your story, Carolyn. This sounds like a great book! I like to bake chocolate chip cookies too 🙂


  10. This sounds so good! I’m a wildlife biologist and I love the illustrations! Congratulations!

    Also posted to facebook and twitter.


  11. I would love to win this for my grandkids. I FB’d, tweeted, and added to a Pinterest board. Thanks for the chance.


  12. Carolyn, your research is impressive and your illustrations are gorgeous. Congrats on this book.


  13. Carolyn’s work is beautiful. So happy for her!


  14. SO beautiful! 🙂


  15. The illustrations are amazing! Thanks for sharing the sketches of the lion.


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