Here are Pinkney's Caldecott Honor books, as listed on ALA's Caldecott Medal & Honor Books, 1938-Present:
2003 Honor: Noah's Ark by Jerry Pinkney
2000 Honor: The Ugly Duckling illustrated by Jerry Pinkney Text: Hans Christian Andersen, adapted by Jerry Pinkney
1995 Honor: John Henry illustrated by Jerry Pinkney; text: Julius Lester
1990 Honor: The Talking Eggs: A Folktale from the American South illustrated by Jerry Pinkney; text: Robert D. San Souci
1989 Honor: Mirandy and Brother Wind illustrated by Jerry Pinkney; text: Patricia C. McKissack
Obviously Pinkney is a very talented illustrator. Unfortunately, we haven't read any of the above titles, but you can bet they are on our TBR list now. However, we did check out a copy of The Lion & the Mouse from our library. Since nearly every kidlit blog I've visited lately has this book at the top of their Caldecott predictions, I thought it was time the kids and I took a look at it.
Seven words. That's right, the book contains minimal text, nearly all animal sounds. Pinkney's highly detailed and beautiful watercolor illustrations tell the classic Aesop's fable in a way far superior than words ever could. He leaves the storytelling to the reader's imagination. When I first looked at The Lion & the Mouse with my kids, we paged through almost silently, taking in the scenery, the characters, the illustrations. My daughter already knew the basic storyline, thanks to Elmo's World. (Kids really can learn from watching Sesame Street.) But my toddler son didn't have any prior background knowledge. His response surprised me. As we reached the page where the lion ends up tangled in the net, he tried to close the book. His concern for the lion was evident, poor little guy. Yes, Pinkney's illustrations are that powerful. After a little coaxing, we reopened the book and continued on to the happy ending. Both kids immediately wanted to read the book again. We've read it several times since and always notice something new - a frog, ants and other wildlife. The wordless format allows the reader to use their own words to tell the story, encouraging the art of storytelling. Yes, from cover to cover, endpapers included, the book is simply stunning.
Upon browsing the list of Caldecott winners/honor books I made an interesting discovery. It seems that cats and mice are popular subjects. Librarians must like the animals. Don't believe me? After performing a quick count, I discovered the following books involving mice and cats (if there are others I have missed, let me know). Goes to show that cats really do rule and mice, not to be outdone, steal the big cheese. I wonder if we'll have another to add to the list after next week?
Kitten's First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes
Seven Blind Mice by Ed Young
Puss in Boots illustrated by Fred Marcellino; text: Charles Perrault, trans. by Malcolm Arthur
The Story of Jumping Mouse: A Native American Legend retold and illustrated by John Steptoe
Mice Twice by Joseph Low
Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse by Leo Lionni
Once a Mouse retold and illustrated by Marcia Brown
Anatole and the Cat illustrated by Paul Galdone; text: Eve Titus
Anatole illustrated by Paul Galdone; text: Eve Titus
Lion by William Pène du Bois
Puss in Boots illustrated by Marcia Brown; text: translated from Charles Perrault by Marcia Brown
Dick Whittington and his Cat by Marcia Brown
April's Kittens by Clare Turlay Newberry
Andy and the Lion by James Daugherty
The last page of The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney shares this information about the illustrations: "The full-color artwork for this book has been prepared using pencil, watercolor, and colored pencils on paper." This week for our story + art craft we experimented with watercolor, specifically watercolor pencils. My preschool-aged daughter drew her own illustration of the fable using the pencils and blended the colors together with a paintbrush and water.
The Lion & the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (September 2009); ISBN 9780316013567; 40 pages; Book Source: Library copy
Other Blog Reviews: Bookie Woogie, thebooknosher, 100 Scope Notes, Kids Lit, Fuse #8.
Author/Illustrator Website - http://www.jerrypinkneystudio.com
Post what you've been reading each week with your kids at Mouse Grows, Mouse Learns. A Mommy's Adventures hosts the "stART" meme (Story + Art) each week. Hope Is the Word hosts a Read Aloud Thursday link-up as well. I am an Amazon affiliate and may receive a very small commission for products purchased through my Amazon links.