John Henry

( 5 )

Overview

With his two sledgehammers pulverizing boulders, John Henry races a steam drill tunneling through a mountain. It's a deadly contest of man-vs-machine written with such power that this African-American folk hero becomes as awesome as a force of nature, yet as familiar as an older brother. Pinkney's stunning art shows John Henry's energy bursting from nature. Full color.

Retells the life of the legendary African American hero who ...

See more details below
Paperback (Mass Market Paperback)
$7.99
BN.com price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (28) from $1.99   
  • New (12) from $4.33   
  • Used (16) from $1.99   
Note: Kids' Club Eligible. See More Details.
Sending request ...

Overview

With his two sledgehammers pulverizing boulders, John Henry races a steam drill tunneling through a mountain. It's a deadly contest of man-vs-machine written with such power that this African-American folk hero becomes as awesome as a force of nature, yet as familiar as an older brother. Pinkney's stunning art shows John Henry's energy bursting from nature. Full color.

Retells the life of the legendary African American hero who raced against a steam drill to cut through a mountain.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
"This tale attempts to be faithful to the indomitable human spirit John Henry embodies" is the opening line on a soft yellow page that introduces this African-American folk hero. John Henry challenges a steam drill in a tunnel-digging contest. He wins, but the exertion proves to be his undoing. Award winning artist Jerry Pinkney's absolutely beautiful watercolors reflect the strength, emotions and awe of John Henry and his exploits. A book for reading aloud and to be treasured for a lifetime.
Children's Literature - Jan Lieberman
Many versions of the legend of John Henry exist, but the most exciting version to date is Julius Lester's. The combination of dynamic tall tale language and powerful paintings set this picture book apart from all the others. "John Henry sang and he hammered and the air danced and the rainbow shimmered and the earth shook and rolled from the blows of the hammer." A read-aloud gem.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 5-Another winning collaboration from the master storyteller and gifted artist of Tales of Uncle Remus (Dial, 1987) fame. Based on several well-known versions of an African American folk ballad, Lester's tale is true to the essence of the steel-driving man; yet, it allows room for touches of whimsy and even includes some contemporary references that tie the hero to our own times. Told with just a trace of dialect, the story moves along briskly toward the climax. Its moral message of the importance of a well-lived life is clearly stated, and the ending is uplifting. Pinkney's marvelous watercolors, abundantly rich in detail, convey both the superior strength and the warm sense of humanity that make John Henry perhaps a more down-to-earth character than some other tall-tale figures. The paintings' muted earth tones add a realistic touch to the text, bringing this John Henry alive. When viewed from a distance, however, figures and details sometimes blend together, making the book better suited to independent reading that group sharing. It will appeal to an older audience than Ezra Jack Keats's John Henry (Knopf, 1987) and is a fine addition to any folklore collection.-Nancy Menaldi-Scanlan, Wheeler School, Providence, RI
Hazel Rochman
. Based on the popular black folk ballad about the contest between John Henry and the steam drill, this picture-book version is a tall tale and a heroic myth, a celebration of the human spirit. Like Lester's great collections of the Uncle Remus tales, also illustrated by Pinkney, the story is told with rhythm and wit, humor and exaggeration, and with a heart-catching immediacy that connects the human and the natural world. ("This was no ordinary boulder. It was as hard as anger . . . a mountain as big as hurt feelings"). The dramatic climax of the story is set at the time of the building of the railroad through the Allegheny Mountains in West Virginia, but Lester begins with the hero's birth, when all the birds and animals come to see the baby and the sun is so excited it forgets to go to bed. Pinkney's dappled pencil-and-watercolor illustrations capture the individuality of the great working man, who is part of the human community and who has the strength of rock and wind. John Henry swings his hammer so fast, he makes a rainbow around his shoulders, and the pictures show that light everywhere, "shining and shimmering in the dust and grit like hope that never dies."
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780140566222
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 12/28/1999
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 108,246
  • Age range: 5 - 10 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.50 (w) x 11.45 (h) x 0.13 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 5 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(2)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(1)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2008

    Fantastic Folktale

    Synopsis: When John Henry was born animals from everywhere came to get a glimpse of the new baby. John Henry grew up to be very big and strong. Once when he was a young boy he was able to build a porch, add a wing to the house, and chop down an acre of trees into fireplace logs all before supper. John Henry could outrun horses and could break through boulders with his sledgehammer better than dynamite. After John Henry completed remarkable tasks, a rainbow would appear around his shoulders and he would sing. One day John Henry made a bet that he could drill through a mountain faster than a steam drill. As always, he flabbergasted people when he was able to drill more than a machine. His power was extraordinary and the people cheered for his amazing accomplishment. The rainbow had appeared on his shoulders and John Henry fell to the ground. After he had died people swore they heard the rainbow whisper words saying that dying is not important, what matters most is how well you lived. Evaluation: In the beginning of the book there is a brief history written about John Henry and the quest to discover if he was a real person or not. The original source of the story was given and readers learn that John Henry achieved his place in American literature through a novel, John Henry (1931) by Roark Bradford. The sources for the Black folk ballad were also mentioned since this book contains lines directly from the songs about John Henry. This historical information gives the reader good background knowledge in order to have a better understanding of the story. The plot of the story is very simple and direct. The language is written in a way that portrays the language that John Henry would have used during his time. This really makes the reader connect to the story and feel like they become part of John Henry¿s world while reading. The theme of the story is that people need to take pride in hard work and have good personal qualities. The moral at the end of the story is that is does not matter if we die because all people will die. What truly matters is how you live your life because that is something that lives on long after the body dies. The illustrations in the book add to the story and add details about John Henry¿s culture. The reader needs to examine these pictures closely because they have an abundance of details that make the story come alive.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 17, 2006

    John Henry

    Caldecott, You can still hear the hammers ringing out ¿RINGGGG! RINGGGG!¿ John Henry is a man of unconquerable spirit. He works hard and large at whatever he sets his hand to. Nothing can stop John Henry-no boulder, no mountain, and definitely no steam drill. This is neat book and my kids love books like this one. Julius Lester was born on January 27, 1939 in St. Louis, MO and currently lives in Belchertown, MA. Bibliography Lester, Julius. John Henry. New York: Puffin Books, 1994.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2003

    A Wonderful Piece of African-American Literature

    John Henry, written by Julius Lester is a brilliant retelling of an old classic. The illustrations are magnifcent children as well as adults will be delighted by the breathtaking colors. This is a wonderful addition to any child's library.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 16, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)