Publishers Weekly just came out with the top ten picture books of 2013 and Jerry Pinkney’s The Tortoise and the Hare made their list. Yeah!
The book is indeed a wonder to behold. Nearly wordless, with huge double page spreads, it retells the famous fable in an ingenious way. The point of the story, that slow and steady wins the race, are the only words and the way Pinkney adds them, beginning with the word “slow” and then adding another word to the phrase at each significant point in the story, is just brilliant. I looked at the vibrant, detailed pictures over and over again and each time I found something new to add to the story. It’s truly a book to linger over.
Jerry Pinkney won the Caldecott Medal for The Lion and the Mouse, and out of curiosity, I started to look at several more of his titles. It made me realize that he is in fact one of the premier retellers of folkloric material today. Here are some of the books he has written and/or illustrated.
Puss in Boots
Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
The Lion and the Mouse
The Talking Eggs (written by Robert San Souci)
Mirandy and Brother Wind (written by Patricia McKissick)
Little Red Riding Hood
Rikki Tikky Tavi (written by Rudyard Kipling)
The Ugly Duckling (written by H.C. Andersen)
The Little Match Girl (H.C. Andersen)
The Nightingale (H.C. Andersen)
John Henry (written by Julius Lester)
The Little Red Hen
The Tales of Uncle Remus (Julius Lester)
Rabbit Makes a Monkey out of Lion (Verna Aardema)
And this is just a starter list. All I can say is, thank you Mr. Pinkey, for keeping folktales, fables, and legends alive and relevant for children today.