Professional reference of literary work Who is faster?

Author: Kvetoslava Kotrbová


Author: Iryna Zelyk
Illustrator: Viktoria Radushynska
Release year: 2019
Slovak version


Therapeutic goals: promoting self-confidence, healthy self-love, recognizing the essence of true friendship, how to be yourself, how to return to joy, how not to prove anything to yourself or others, and to manage uncertainty and sadness from uncertainty
Recommended age group: 3+
Form of work: individual, group


Brief content of the work:

A picture book about feelings, using a strong and beautiful story that describes a common life situation, opens up the sensitive topic of self-confidence. Two small personalities, pure beings, who are likened in the story by the fairy-tale characters of the wolf and the eagle, meet in it to acquire an important common life experience. One runs for joy, the other is convinced that he is the fastest. The wolf Lightning wants to make friends, but the brave eagle Wind is not very interested in friendship. He thinks he’s the fastest and starts annoyingly provoke Lightning as to whether he’s good at running, he is taunting and mocking him. They race to see who is faster. But something happens that no one would expect.

It can be very helpful for children between the ages of 5 and 8, in the period when they are building their personality, joining a team, establishing relationships and encountering situations in which self-confidence is the basis for them to handle them healthily. Thanks to expressive, real and at the same time magical illustrations, it is also suitable for younger three-year-old children. Since the story deals with feelings, there are no age restrictions for the reader.

The book includes the author’s reflections on the topic of self-confidence, which draws from her life experiences with her two children and a set of questions prepared by her that can help parents open honest communication with the child and the opportunity to enter his world. At the end of the book, after reading the story, the child can color the attached coloring book, which forms part of the book – to paint his inside. With this, an adult can look a little deeper into their child’s heart and reassure them that they are loved and good enough just the way they are.


Description of the possibilities of professional pedagogical/therapeutic work:

This, as well as other earlier and later published books about feelings by this author, in addition to the story itself and the sharing of the author’s own experiences, also contain recommendations for parents on how to respond to the child’s emotions after reading. It also includes a range of questions that can help mutual sharing between an adult and a parent, which is why we also include it to the category of self-help books (Kotrbová, 2022). Examples of supporting questions:

– Lightning is happy with the story, because he can just run around the forest. What brings you joy?

– What is your favorite thing to do? How do you feel when you do what you love?

– Do you prefer to play alone or with children?

– Is it important to you what others say/think about you?

– How do you feel when others don’t praise you or don’t like what you drew or created?

– Have you ever experienced something similar? Have you ever had someone laugh at you, like the eagle in the fairy tale? If so, how did you feel about it? Did you say something to make him laugh? If not, what would you like to say or say? Why do you think people make fun of others?

– Have you ever made fun of other children? How would you change it so you don’t have to do it?

Other mentioned publications (The Tale of Two Lizards and the Sun, 2018, I love you, 2019, Me and Mr. Anger, 2020 and Hello fear!, 2021) in addition to specially marked words about feelings (self-confidence, self-love, sadness, fear, self-reliance , happiness, joy, respect, loving life, liking myself, being myself, good enough, calm, etc.), which must be emphasized when reading aloud to the child, also contain recommendations on how to translate the story into joint play theater, instructions for completing sentences and games with children.

Along with the publications, the author also published a card game for the family, Emotional Garden. A game about feelings that unites the family (2020) as well as a journal for writing the memories of the parents of the child You are a miracle for me (2021), which are accompanied by audio lullabies available from the author’s website https://www.


Description of experience from own work with a literary piece:

I read the story to my son when he was about 7 years old. I knew he wished wished to find and have friends with whom he could get along at that time. Sometimes, however for example, when he wanted to play a game with them with his favorite toys trains, they preferred cars, when he didn’t give them his tithe under the threat of “because I won’t be your friend”, or sometimes they used some inappropriate words, which were not pleasant for him and he was trying to figure out what to do with it. He didn’t feel good about it and confided about it at home (for which I was very grateful and I´m till now). The truth is that even adults have to deal with such and similar situations.

That´s why for example, I am very grateful to my friend psychologist dr. Viera Diešková, who advised me on a traditional children’s nursery rhyme in Slovak reflecting the deep truth and wisdom of life: “Who says it, it is who it is, it fits.” With great joy, I immediately offered it to my son to help him detach himself from the content of what anyone is saying (about him, although more about himself) and although he cares about him to be his friend, he did not accept it as an absolute the truth about yourself, but more the truth about the other.

Since it was simple, rhyming and therefore easy to remember, he more easily accepted that he could look at this situation in his life from another point of view, and as he later boasted to me, he was able to use it in a specific situation to relieve him of unpleasant feelings.

Similar to the nursery rhyme, even after reading the story, I saw a light shine in his eyes that this was exactly it, this was the answer to his current questions about his soul and being that he needed right now. That he should not give up the activities that fill him with joy, but on the contrary, maintain and cultivate those that give him meaning and are a source of happiness and in this way like himself and inspire others. This story reassured my son that it’s totally okay for him to act the way he does and is keeping what he like and to be able to defend himself if necessary, like for example the main character in the story.

In the story, the wolf Lightning and the eagle Wind meet in a race. One wants to make friends, the other just to compete. The eagle challenges Lightning to compete to see who is the fastest, regardless of joy. Lightning gives up the second race for the fastest, because he understands that competing for the fastest does not bring him the joy of running, which he loves so much, and decides to get what he needs – the joy of running, even if he is not the fastest. He goes away without a race and runs again just for fun and is happy again.

The story provides the child with instructions on how to politely refuse a situation that does not suit him: “I’m sorry, but I don’t want to race with you. I don’t want to be the best or the fastest. I’m fast enough, that’s enough for me, we can only race for fun, not to prove who is the best. I run because I love it.”

The eagle also learned from the behavior of Lightning. He noticed in himself that when he concentrated only on being the fastest, he did not have the same joy in running that he saw in Lightning. But thanks to the fact that he saw how Lightning enjoyed running, had wonderful feelings and was happy, it inspired him to notice his feelings more while running. Not trying to be the best, but feeling calm, for example. At the end of the story, he thanked Lightning for this knowledge, offered him friendship and asked him to never forget who and what he is, because it is also important to him. At the end of the story, they are happy both for their new friendship and for this shared experience.


Zelyk, Iryna. 2018. Príbeh o dvoch jašteričkách a slnku. [A story about two lizards and the sun. An unusual book about children’s feelings.]  Bratislava: Female Force. 56 p. ISBN 978-80-973083-2-2
Zelyk, Iryna. 2019. Ľúbim Ťa. Kniha o jedinečnej rodičovskej láske. [I love you. A book about unique parental love.] Bratislava: Female Force. 56 p. ISBN 978-80-973083-5-3
Zelyk, Iryna. 2019. Kto je rýchlejší? Príbeh o láske k sebe samému. [Who is faster. A story about self-love.] Bratislava: Female Force. 56 p. ISBN 978-80-973083-1-5
Zelyk, Iryna. 2020. Ja a pánko hnev. Pozoruhodná kniha o tom, ako ovládnuť svoj hnev. [Me and Mr. Anger. A remarkable book on how to control your anger.] Bratislava: Female Force. 56 p. ISBN 978-80-99971-01-2
Zelyk, Iryna. 2021. Ahoj strach! Kniha o tom ako pochopiť a zvládnuť svoj strach. [Hello fear! A book about how to understand and manage your fear.] Bratislava: Female Force. 56 p. ISBN 978-80-99971-04-3
Zelyk, Iryna. 2020. Emocionálna záhrada. Hra o pocitoch, ktorá spája rodinu. [Emotional garden. A game about feelings that brings the family together.] Bratislava: Female Force, 2020. 8-588007-277554
Zelyk, Iryna. 2021. Ty si môj zázrak. [You are a miracle to me.] Bratislava: Female Force. 56 p. ISBN 978-80-99971-06-7
Kotrbová, Kvetoslava. 2022. Svojpomocné knihy v biblioterapii. [Self-help books in bibliotherapy.] p. 95-110. In Studia Scientifica Facultatis Paedagogicae, vol. XXI., no. 5/2022, Ružomberok: Catholic University, 2022. 180 s. Available online:


The possibility to consult the indications and contraindications of the work, specific procedures or experiences, before, during and after using the work with the author of the recommendation: yes


The recommendation created by:

PhDr. Kvetoslava Kotrbová, PhD., MPH, Workplace: Faculty of Education, Comenius University in Bratislava, Last update: February 7, 2023

The recommendation from Slovak to English translated by: Mária Trechová, Workplace: PRO SKIZP – Association for support of Slovak Chamber of Physicists, Laboratory Diagnosticians, Language Speech Therapists and Therapeutic Educators, c. a. Bratislava, Slovakia


It has not undergone language editing!


Recommended citation method:

Kotrbová Kvetoslava. 2023. Expert reference and sharing of experience for the literary work of the author Iryna Zelyk Who is faster? A story about self-love. In Kotrbová, K. et al: Bratislava: PRO SKIZP – Association to support the development of the Slovak Chamber of Clinical Physics, Laboratory Diagnosticians, Language Speech Therapists and Therapeutic Pedagogues, 2023.  ISBN 978-80-974667-0-1 Available on:


The contribution was created thanks to support from the European Union Erasmus+ program, Key action 2 – Cooperation between organizations and institutions, KA210 – Small partnerships for cooperation in the field of education and training. Project name “Prototype of online teaching aid for bibliotherapy”, project number 2022-1-SK01-KA210-VET-000082483. It represents the opinion of the author and the European Commission is not responsible for any use of the information contained therein.

Additional information


Author of the book: Iryna Zelyk
Illustrator: Viktoria Radushynska
Release year: 2019
Edition order: 1st edition
Publisher: FemaleForce, Bratislava
Total number of pages: 56
ISBN 978-80-551-6451-5
Literary genre: fairy tale/self-help book

Slovak version
English version
Hungarian version