20 August 2009

Rave Review: The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney


My list for 2010 Caldecott nominations starts right here! Jerry Pinkney has illustrated some beautiful picture books over the course of his long, distinguished career, but with this retelling of the famous Aesop fable, he has really raised the bar and created a stunning piece of art. Even the physical book itself exudes craftsmanship as the slightly thicker paper used gives the book a feeling of quality and distinction. Pinkney's decision to tell the story wordlessly is a natural choice; the original required minimal text to tell how the one kind deed from a creature in power is his ultimate salvation. Pinkney also reveals a back story, in where family is the focus, that strengthens the poignancy and immediacy of the original fable. This is a book where the story literally runs from cover to cover--starting with the mighty, almost imposing image of the lion on the front, and ending with the less imposing yet equally magnificent portrait of the mouse of the back. Read it and be wowed by the beauty of the illustrations, the directness of the interpretation, and the wisdom of the composition.

2 comments:

Pam T said...

How cool! Adding it to the kids TBR pronto.

Great review.

Kara Schaff Dean said...

Thank you very much, Pam. I think they'll love it! I thought Pinkney's Little Red Riding Hood from a few years back was lovely, too, but this one is really special.

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