The Lion & the Mouse
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The Lion & the Mouse

3.8 76
by Jerry Pinkney
     
 

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In award-winning artist Jerry Pinkney's wordless adaptation of one of Aesop's most beloved fables, an unlikely pair learn that no act of kindness is ever wasted. After a ferocious lion spares a cowering mouse that he'd planned to eat, the mouse later comes to his rescue, freeing him from a poacher's trap. With vivid depictions of the landscape of the African

Overview

In award-winning artist Jerry Pinkney's wordless adaptation of one of Aesop's most beloved fables, an unlikely pair learn that no act of kindness is ever wasted. After a ferocious lion spares a cowering mouse that he'd planned to eat, the mouse later comes to his rescue, freeing him from a poacher's trap. With vivid depictions of the landscape of the African Serengeti and expressively-drawn characters, Pinkney makes this a truly special retelling, and his stunning pictures speak volumes.

Editorial Reviews

The Horn Book
* "By retelling Aesop's fable entirely in his signature pencil and watercolor art, Pinkney encourages closer exploration of the pleasing detail with which he amplifies it... It will be a challenge for libraries to make every gorgeous surface available, but it's a challenge worth taking on."
From the Publisher
* "Pinkney enriches this classic tale of friendship with another universal theme - family - affectingly illustrated in several scenes as well as in the back endpapers... African species grace splendid panoramas that balance the many finely detailed, closeup images of the protagonists. Pinkney has no need for words; his art speaks eloquently for itself."—Publishers Weekly, starred review

* "A nearly wordless exploration of Aesop's fable of symbiotic mercy that is nothing short of masterful... Unimpeachable."—Kirkus Reviews, starred review

* "Pinkney's luminous art, rendered in watercolor and colored pencil, suggests a natural harmony... The ambiguity that results from the lack of words in this version allows for a slower, subtle, and ultimately more satisfying read. Moments of humor and affection complement the drama. A classic tale from a consummate artist."—School Library Journal, starred review

* "By retelling Aesop's fable entirely in his signature pencil and watercolor art, Pinkney encourages closer exploration of the pleasing detail with which he amplifies it... It will be a challenge for libraries to make every gorgeous surface available, but it's a challenge worth taking on."—The Horn Book, starred review

Roger Sutton
The art of Jerry Pinkney's new picture book is commanding enough to do without the author's name or even the title on the front cover…Winner of five Caldecott Honors, Pinkney has always seemed happier drawing animals than people. Look, in his 2007 retelling, at his studied Little Red Riding Hood next to his lively Wolf. His beasts are not humans in disguise; while both the lion and the mouse have emotions and intelligence in their eyes, they are animal in nature. We don't know why the lion lets the mouse go free or why the mouse nibbles the lion out of the net planted by the men (poachers? wardens?) from the jeep. But it's actions in this case that count. That's the moral of the story.
—The New York Times
Kristi Jemtegaard
…[a] beautiful new rendition of…Aesop's fable…Readers unfamiliar with the tale will easily understand it from the carefully sequenced images; those who have already encountered it will experience it anew.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
Other than some squeaks, hoots and one enormous roar, Pinkney's (Little Red Riding Hood) interpretation of Aesop's fable is wordless—as is its striking cover, which features only a head-on portrait of the lion's face. Mottled, tawny illustrations show a mouse unwittingly taking refuge on a lion's back as it scurries away from an owl. The large beast grabs and then releases the tiny creature, who later frees the lion who has become tangled in a hunter's snare. Pinkney enriches this classic tale of friendship with another universal theme—family—affectingly illustrated in several scenes as well as in the back endpapers, which show the lion walking with his mate and cubs as the mouse and her brood ride on his back. Pinkney's artist's note explains that he set the book in Africa's Serengeti, “with its wide horizon and abundant wildlife so awesome yet fragile—not unlike the two sides of each of the heroes.” Additional African species grace splendid panoramas that balance the many finely detailed, closeup images of the protagonists. Pinkney has no need for words; his art speaks eloquently for itself. Ages 3–6. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Here, Pinkney is audacious, courageous, or simply imaginative enough to retell the classic Aesop fable without text. Very few natural sound effects like the hoot of an owl, the scratching of the mouse's teeth as it chews the ropes and the "RRRRRROAARRRR" of the captured lion are all that are necessary. His animated renderings of the African animals along with the two hunters draw us immediately into the familiar story. Even the paper jacket is textless; the title is only on the spine. The front of the book's actual cover introduces the two main characters in portraits, with only "&" in between and the name of the illustrator. The back of the cover and the front end pages offer different pictures of the lion amid the other animals. The rear end pages visualize the happy ending with the lion family strolling along and the mouse family riding on the lion's back. The illustrations range from double-page spreads to framed or unframed images on single pages. They vary in size but not intensity. The close-up of the lion in the trap is almost a psychological study. As a master of the media, Pinkney handles pencil and transparent watercolors with added colored pencils to create naturalistic characters while avoiding the strictures of photorealism. This is a stunning tour de force. A note from Pinkney discusses his relation to the story and his reasons for this version. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3—This story starts on the cover with the glorious, golden countenance of a lion. No text is necessary to communicate the title: the direction of the beast's gaze and the conflicted expression on his tightly cropped face compel readers to turn the book over, where a mouse, almost filling the vertical space, glances back. The endpapers and artist's note place these creatures among the animal families of the African Serengeti. Each spread contributes something new in this nearly wordless narrative, including the title opening, on which the watchful rodent pauses, resting in one of the large footprints that marches across the gutter. In some scenes, Pinkney's luminous art, rendered in watercolor and colored pencil, suggests a natural harmony, as when the cool blues of the sky are mirrored in the rocks and acacia tree. In other compositions, a cream-colored background focuses attention on the exquisitely detailed and nuanced forms of the two main characters. Varied perspectives and the judicious use of panels create interest and indicate time. Sounds are used sparingly and purposefully—an owl's hoot to hint at offstage danger or an anguished roar to alert the mouse of the lion's entrapment. Contrast this version with Pinkney's traditional treatment of the same story (complete with moral) in Aesop's Fables (North-South, 2000). The ambiguity that results from the lack of words in this version allows for a slower, subtle, and ultimately more satisfying read. Moments of humor and affection complement the drama. A classic tale from a consummate artist.—Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library
Kirkus Reviews
A nearly wordless exploration of Aesop's fable of symbiotic mercy that is nothing short of masterful. A mouse, narrowly escaping an owl at dawn, skitters up what prove to be a male lion's tail and back. Lion releases Mouse in a moment of bemused gentility and-when subsequently ensnared in a poacher's rope trap-reaps the benefit thereof. Pinkney successfully blends anthropomorphism and realism, depicting Lion's massive paws and Mouse's pink inner ears along with expressions encompassing the quizzical, hapless and nearly smiling. He plays, too, with perspective, alternating foreground views of Mouse amid tall grasses with layered panoramas of the Serengeti plain and its multitudinous wildlife. Mouse, befitting her courage, is often depicted heroically large relative to Lion. Spreads in watercolor and pencil employ a palette of glowing amber, mouse-brown and blue-green. Artist-rendered display type ranges from a protracted "RRROAARRRRRRRRR" to nine petite squeaks from as many mouselings. If the five cubs in the back endpapers are a surprise, the mouse family of ten, perched on the ridge of father lion's back, is sheer delight. Unimpeachable. (author's note) (Picture book. 3-6)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780316013567
Publisher:
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication date:
09/01/2009
Pages:
40
Sales rank:
47,114
Product dimensions:
11.20(w) x 9.70(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
3 - 5 Years

Meet the Author

Jerry Pinkney is one of the most heralded children's book illustrators of all time. He has the rare distinction of being the recipient of five Caldecott Honors and the winner of the 2010 Caldecott medal for The Lion and the Mouse, and has since created two companion picture books: The Tortoise & the Hare and The Grasshopper & the Ants. He has won the Coretta Scott King Award five times, the Coretta Scott King Honor four times, and has been nominated for the prestigious Hans Christian Anderson Award. He was also the first children's book illustrator elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He lives with his wife, author Gloria Jean Pinkney, in Croton-on-Hudson, New York. The artist invites you to visit his website at jerrypinkneystudio.com.

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Lion & the Mouse 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 76 reviews.
5_ltlbrats More than 1 year ago
Although the art is truly amazing, for first time readers it is difficult to determine how the story should be. At times it is difficult to see the mouse, making it difficult to keep the story going. I have five children, only one appreciated the art as much as I did, the others would have liked to enjoy the actual story.
Mary_T More than 1 year ago
The great thing about wordless picture books like The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney and Good Dog Carl by Alexandra Day is that they engage the imagination in ways that books with text cannot. The reader is challenged to tell the story in his own words using the author's illustrations as inspiration. There's nothing to "read" so you must "tell" instead and that makes for a very different storytime experience for both the teller and the listener. Another great thing? You don't have to be old enough to read to enjoy the book. Try this - - after you've told the story to your child, hand over the book and have her "tell" it back to you. You'll be surprised at the whimsical interpretations she'll come up with. Perhaps the mouse is a wizard and the lion is a princess under a spell? Try this - - tell the story backwards. There's no set narrative, so why not? Start with the final picture and start the story there. Then page by page go backwards to the first picture, making up a story as you go along. Then have your child give it a try. Who needs printed words!
kim-galleria More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best illustrated picture books to come out in a long time! It is the retelling of the Aesop fable about the lion who spares a mouse only to find himself needing the mouse's help later on when he is caught in a net. Jerry Pinkney's illustrations allow the reader to create his own version of the fable - there are very few words. This book was a big hit at storytime and gave my young audience a chance to help me tell the story. A wonderful story of friendship and trust to be enjoyed by the child in all of us.
AuthorKellyMoran More than 1 year ago
Jerry Pinkney is one of the most cherished children's book illustrators of all time. Having received four NY Times Best Illustrator Awards, nominated for the Hans Christian Andersen Award, he is a five-time recipient of the Caldecott Honor and the Coretta Scott King Award. He resides in New York with his wife. In this wordless adaptation of a classic Aesop fable, The Lion & The Mouse shows this unlikely pair of friends and how no good deed of kindness is ever wasted. We all know the tale of The Lion & The Mouse, but seeing this story told through illustration only, with no text, puts a unique and creative spin on an old classic. It allows children to tell their own version and engages conversation. As always, Jerry Pinkney delivers a stunning and beautifully illustrated story. Highly recommended! Kelly Moran, Author and Reviewer
love4kids More than 1 year ago
I love this classic tale redone in theis book. Not too much, not too little. The illustrations are just beautiful.
belshoff More than 1 year ago
A absolutely gorgeous rendition of the fable, The Lion and the Mouse. The illustrations are so outstanding -the book does not need words!!! A must purchase for collections!
Prof_McGonagall More than 1 year ago
Jerry Pinkney is one of my favorite illustrators, and this book is one of his finest, in my opinion. The watercolors bring this Aesop's tale to life without a single word of print! Wordless books are made to be shared and discussed, so I bought this to add to my collection of other wordless books, which I use in my 2cd grade classroom. Without words, literature is not dependent on the adjectives and descriptions found in the text, but can be as complex as the vocabulary of the "reader".Finally, the message of this fable has many levels and meaning depending on personal experience. For me, I grew up with the traditional message: you don't have to be strong and powerful to make a difference in someone's life. How many words of virtue can you find in this book? Courage, humility, forgiveness, mercy, sympathy, gratitude... Here are some other wordless books for children:
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book features some of the most expressive character drawings that I've seen. It provides endless fascination.
Knitwit14 More than 1 year ago
First of all, the cover is filled with awesome, and I love seeing it on my shelf. (It's been face-out in my home bookshelf, where I place my Caldecott pick for the year. Yes, I'm a book geek sometimes.) And the interior of the book is just as good. Pinkney's illustrations tell the story of the Lion and the Mouse, with a few twists that keep the story fresh. (Mouse is the star, in my opinion.) The watercolors are very expressive, making this a great book not only for lovers of children's lit and picture books, but a great pick for art lovers as well. This book is beautiful, and shows what art can do. Kids and adults will love it. The one trouble some might have is it's not a typical read-aloud, unless you're good at "reading" on the fly, since it's wordless. But that's a very, very small thing, as the story is very clear via the art, and the lack of words gives it more power, and can spark creativity and imagination in the child. Plus, if you're so inclined, you can tell the story a different way each time, making any bedtime readings a little less tedious. (Your child could even "read" it to you.) Pick it up quickly, before the Caldecott sticker gets affixed :)
Anika227 More than 1 year ago
I first heard about this beautiful book in a New York Times Book Review and decided I would consider it as a Christmas gift for my new grandson. However, once I actually found this treasure and took the time to enjoy it, I decided that I would add it to my own collection! While there is little actual text, the book lends itself to the reader's imagination and even a young child can use his own words to tell the story. I would highly recommend this wonderfully illustrated story of the timeless classic with the underlying message that even a tiny creature can offer help to a powerful one!
GailCooke More than 1 year ago
This particular Aesop fable is familiar to most - the story of a wee, insignificant mouse who happens to disturb a lion. Well, of course, the little mouse is a mere tidbit for the lion. Nonetheless, this magnificent king of the jungle decides to let the little fellow go. Later, the lion is entrapped by poachers and the little mouse remembers the lion's kindness and manages to set the lion free. There is so much to be learned from this fable and there are many different interpretations of the story. This wordless version by noted artist Jerry Pinkney is remarkable not only for the beauty of Pinkney's work but because it allows the reader or in this case story teller to offer a different narrative each time the book is shown. One never tires of looking at the artist's stunning full page paintings, and young listeners don't tire of hearing the story over and over again, each time with a slightly different twist. The mantel at Pinkney's home must sag with the numerous awards he has received - four New York Times Best Illustrated Awards, five Caldecott and Coretta Scott King Awards, etc. All so richly deserved. Since I've no trophy to offer I merely send thanks for one more beautifully illustrated book that will become a part of our permanent collection. - Gail Cooke
markwmcintire More than 1 year ago
We bought this for our grandkids for Valentine's Day. They love it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I normally don't enjoy wordless books, but this is wonderful. Beautiful illustrations and a simple story we all know about love and caring.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Absolutely love the drawings. The expressions are unbelievable. We let the grandchildren create there own stories. Great for developing little minds and older folk's enjoyment. Highly recommend to all ages.
JMIKELABS More than 1 year ago
GREAT STORY! At first I didnt know what to think about this picture book. I wasn't sure if I could understand what the story was about without any words. This is truly an amazing illustration only book. I looked and looked and I finally understood the story behind the illustrations. These are wonderful illustrations. The color scheme is gorgeous! Who knew that a little mouse would be the one to help the lion in his time of need. The mouse new that the lion had done him a great favor by not eating him and letting him return to his family. Little did the mouse realize was that the lion would soon need his help and he would then be able to return the favor. Sometimes life doesn't always happen the way you would expect it to. It can change your views in a blink of an eye. Who would have thought that the mouse would be the one to save the lion from the trap that the poachers had set. The person or people that you would least expect help from, sometimes turn out to be great friends.
lizzieLS More than 1 year ago
This Aesop's fable brought teaars to my husband's eyes as he looked thru this excellently illustratred book. The story was best told w/out words, and is briliantly executed. It is now one of our very favorite books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Book relies completely on illustration as no text is printed. A parent or child would need to know the story to be able to tell it while viewing the illustrations. But the illustrations are evident enough that the reader can understand all but maybe Aesop's moral -- would depend on the age of the reader.
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