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The Lion and the Mouse

4.23  ·  Rating Details  ·  15,220 Ratings  ·  1,971 Reviews
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 ...more
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published September 1st 2009 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
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14 Cows for America by Carmen Agra DeedyThe Lion and the Mouse by Jerry PinkneyThe Curious Garden by Peter  BrownMoonshot by Brian FlocaRed Sings from Treetops by Joyce Sidman
2010 Caldecott Hopefuls
2nd out of 60 books — 158 voters
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice SendakMake Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskeyThe Snowy Day by Ezra Jack KeatsThe Polar Express by Chris Van AllsburgThe Little House by Virginia Lee Burton
Caldecott Medal Winners
19th out of 79 books — 346 voters

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Community Reviews

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“The Lion and the Mouse” is a Caldecott Medal award winning book by the wonderful Jerry Pinkney that is about how a bold lion realizes that the smallest creature can be a big help when he is trapped in a predicament that he cannot get out of. “The Lion and the Mouse” is a brilliant retelling of the classic Aesop fable that children will read over and over again.

Jerry Pinkney’s illustrations alone retell the story of a popular Aesop fable, since there are no words in this book to tell the readers
Jackie "the Librarian"
The picture on the endpages is my favorite in the book, but as I can't find that on online, I present instead this one, which I also love:

This is a really wonderful wordless telling of the Aesop's fable, with the lion and the mouse both depicted with real character, and humor.
I love Jerry Pinkney's watercolors, and the way he populates his pictures not just with the title characters, but a delightful assortment of animals from the African Serengeti of Tanzania and Kenya, where he set his tellin
Sep 22, 2014 GoldGato rated it it was amazing
Goodness gracious, this is a book that can't just sit on a shelf in a bookstore. Try walking past can't, for the magnificent water colours simply jump right at you.

This book is a silent movie on paper. The tale "do unto others" is told by art only. Your children will want to turn the pages themselves so they can see the great maned lion and the pesky little mouse work things out.

And once your child is done, take the book and stand it up on your bookshelf with cover front-and-center, fo
Jul 19, 2009 Betsy rated it it was amazing
How trustworthy do you find a reviewer who loves a particular author’s work, praises it regularly, and then reviews that writer's next book with predictable kisses, cheers, and thrown rose petals? I admit that I am usually that exact reviewing type. If I like someone’s work, I’m more likely to review that same person in the future. That’s just how the game goes. But for once, I think I should point out that a positive review is all the MORE impressive when it comes from someone who not usually a ...more
Lisa Vegan
Jan 25, 2010 Lisa Vegan rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everybody who appreciates beautiful picture books; Aesop’s Fables fans
Recommended to Lisa by: Abigail A.
This is an absolutely gorgeous book. It’s one of the most beautifully illustrated picture books I’ve read.

I didn’t think I was going to enjoy this book that much, given that I like Aesop’s Fables but they’ve never been my very favorite tales, but this wordless version is phenomenal. It’s also rather graphic, especially when the lion gets caught in the poacher’s trap. This author/illustrator’s reverence for animals really comes through in this book.

The book had me riveted from the wordless cover,
Mar 08, 2010 Kathryn rated it it was amazing
What more can be said about Pinkney's award-winning (and justifiably so) gem of a wordless story? Personally, I think it is beautifully portrayed--I love the African savanna setting, and the expressions of the lion and the mouse tell the story perfectly.
Mar 16, 2010 Ann rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Ann by: Kathryn :)
This is an almost entirely wordless book. The only words are "sounds" - and owl hooting, the mouse squeaking, etc. The illustrations are simply lovely and I was amazed that Pinkney could convey the emotion he did while still managing to keep the animals looking "real."

I wasn't familiar with this version of the fable, and don't want to spoil it for anyone else. Let me simply say that it isn't a thorn in the paw this time.

I especially enjoyed the author's note, where Pinkney says that he was, as
Jan 31, 2012 Luann rated it it was amazing
This Caldecott Medal winner is entirely wordless except for animal sounds such as the lion roaring or the mouse squeaking. On one page there is also the putt-putt of the poachers' jeep.

The illustrations here are, of course, amazing! They tell the story in such an expressive way. I especially love the many expressions on both the lion's face and the mouse's face throughout the story. I'm sure it's no accident that we don't see the faces of the human poachers.

Pinkney mentions in his Artist's Note
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
Beautiful, beautiful! I didn't expect this book to be wordless, but Pinkney does a fine job of telling this traditional fable, set in Africa, clearly and with style. He truly deserved the Caldecott Award he won with this one! Even the endpapers tell part of the story. The detail and the color in the pictures made me want to gaze at each one for several minutes, so it took me a while to get through the book. Those mice are so cute! Outstanding! Highly recommended!
Adriana Villagomez
Jan 19, 2015 Adriana Villagomez rated it it was amazing
Have you ever thought that as long as you do good, good will be done back to you? Well that is what happens in this story. The Lion and the Mouse is one of Aesop’s fables. In this version, there are no words, only pictures, that guide the imagination. The main characters are the lion and the mouse. As in the original fable, the mouse accidentally wakes up a lion and is caught in his grasp. The lion graciously releases the mouse from his grasp, only to be saved from a poacher’s trap by the very s ...more
Oct 05, 2014 Erin rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 520-picturebook
Jerry Pinkney's Caldecott winner, The Lion and the Mouse, is a beautiful, wordless, rendition of Aesop's traditional fable. A humble mouse finds its way into the hands of a lion. In an uncharacteristic act of kindness, the lion releases the mouse, who is then able to return to its nest full of babies. Meanwhile, the lion is captured by poachers and his fierce roar of frustration and fear is heard by mouse. Remembering the lion's act of kindness, the mouse is able to chew through the rope and fre ...more
Joanna Marple
Nov 09, 2013 Joanna Marple rated it it was amazing
Opening Lines:

Who Who Whooo


While the book does begin with an owl hooting, and we have occasional onomatopoeic animal sounds, this is an almost wordless rendition of one of Aesop’s most well-known fables. The scene- The African Serengeti of Tanzania and Kenya. A wee small mouse escapes the claws of a hungry owl, only to find herself trapped within the paw of a huge lion. The lion releases the mouse on a whim. Unfortunately the lion’s progress is short-lived as it falls prey to poachers
Apr 14, 2013 Morgan rated it it was amazing
I have never read this book before, but after reading this in the library, it became another one of my favorite children's books. It is an actual picture book without any words, which made me enjoy it even more because it made me really concentrate on the photos instead of the text. It also made me really think about what the storyline behind this was, which has never happened before. After finishing the book, I realized that the storyline behind this book was about a mouse who takes refuge on a ...more
Mar 29, 2010 Teeny rated it liked it
Summary: 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 ...more
Angela Bailey
Title / Author / Publication Date:
The lion and the mouse. / Jerry Pinkney. / 2009.

Genre: Nonfiction: Folktales.

Format: Picturebook - print.

Plot summary:
"In this wordless retelling of an Aesop fable, an adventuresome mouse proves that even small creatures are capable of great deeds when he rescues the King of the Jungle" (NoveList).

Considerations or precautions for readers advisory:
unlikely friendships, rescue, African Serengeti, lion & mouse

Review citation:
"The ambiguity that results from t
I thought this book was going to a simple story of "The Lion and the Mouse" except Jerry Pinkney did the creative thinking and used pictures and sound to write the story. Don't get me wrong it is the same story from Aesop's Fables but I fell in love with this story simply by the illustrations.

The illustrations brought the animals to life and the use of colors and the way it is drawn just left me utterly speechless how this book is a children's story. He drew words to create the sound of wind or
Sep 02, 2012 Andrea rated it it was amazing
I thought this book showed a good message to people of all ages. It shows that through tough times those who you thought wouldn't help you do in fact come around. In this story, the mouse who is trying to get away from danger ends up with a lion. Who had originally made plans to eat him,after some time the lion decides to let the mouse go. To return the favor for the lion letting go of the mouse, the mouse helps the lion who becomes trapped. Although the mouse is tiny compared to the big lion, h ...more
Mar 02, 2010 Carolynne rated it it was amazing
This nearly wordless retelling of the Aesop Fable, set in the African Serengeti of Tanzania and Kenya, won the Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished book of 2009. Jerry Pinkney richly deserves the award for his detailed watercolor, pencil, and colored pencil illustrations which enhance the original fable by adding a family for the courageous mouse and adding selective animal sounds. The glorious endpages set the story in context by picturing giraffe, zebra, elephant, and other animal famili ...more
Jul 04, 2012 Rachel rated it it was amazing
Another book for the Caldecott Challenge, though given my recent obsession with Jerry Pinkney books, I would've read it sometime soon anyways. This book won the 2010 Caldecott Award and although I enjoyed "All the World," this book is so beautifully illustrated, it is no wonder that it won. Pinkney's books are literally works of art in and of themselves, and this book is no exception. I was surprised that this version of the Aesop fable was wordless, but the penciled and watercolored illustratio ...more
Feb 17, 2011 Jan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s-books
This Caldecott award winning picture book is simply perfection. The lavish, bright and arresting illustrations that tell a beloved Aesop fable about a merciful lion enthrall the reader immediately. I loved how Pinkney used just sounds to add a touch of fun and action to the story. This is a must have for your picture book collection. This book is a wonderful illustration of how the humblest of us can make a difference, even to the most powerful.

Find it at Cuyahoga County Public Library: http://
Veronica Duarte
Feb 08, 2016 Veronica Duarte rated it really liked it
The Lion and the Mouse
By: Jerry Pinkney

Picking up this book was a mistake at first then I opened the book and realized that it was no mistake. When I first picked it up I thought it was a nature book because the lion looked so realistic. The thing that drew me in the most was the end pages. The end pages are filled with so much character and color that brings the reader in for more.

Once I started to read the book I realized that this was a retelling of an older folk tale of the lion and the mo
Bryanna Johnson
Jan 26, 2015 Bryanna Johnson rated it really liked it
In this story readers follow a small mouse and its bravery in assisting a larger ferocious lion as a repayment of debt. In this story a small mouse mistakenly stumbles upon a lion, this lion had just so happened to feel pretty generous that day and allowed the mouse to leave to its family. Later on some hunters set up a net trap that of which the lion finds himself trapped in. The mouse hears the commotion and goes to the lion's aid, after which scavenging some string to take back to its family. ...more
The Library Lady
Oct 08, 2009 The Library Lady rated it liked it
The art is gorgeous and Pinkney is bound to be in the Caldecott running for this one.
On the other hand, to be my usual cranky self--and this is why I won't give it more than 3 stars--I always find that adults kvell over wordless picture books a lot more than kids do.
And as expressive as the art here is--and it's very--kids who don't know the Aesop fable are going to need some sort of explanation of the plot in order to really get what's going on here.
Jessica LeBaron

The Lion and the Mouse
Jerry Pinkney

I have been a fan of Aesop's Fables since I was little, because my mom used to read them to me, so this book was automatically great in my mind before I even opened it. It is a completely illustrated picture book that only contains words that express onomatopoeic words such as "squeak" and "roar". I used this book for my visual literacy project earlier in the semester, and I loved (and still love) the way that it is illustrated. The entire story is drawn and pa
Holly Leendertsen
The Lion and the Mouse is a story about a mouse that is running away from an owl, but when he escapes the owl, ends up right next to a lion. The lion looks at the mouse, and then decides to let him go. The mouse then goes to tell his friends about what the lion did for him. Then, the lion accidentally steps into a net set by poachers and is caught. The mice see this, and help the lion get free from the net in order to repay the lion for sparing the mouse’s life. The illustrations in this book we ...more
Stephanie Cahill
Mar 27, 2016 Stephanie Cahill rated it really liked it
The story The Lion and the Mouse teaches children that no act of kindness is wasted. This book starts out with a mouse exploring the jungle. Soon the mouse ran into trouble when he bumped into the king of the jungle, a lion. Right after the lion caught the mouse in his hands, the mouse had managed to make a run for it and went back to his family. The day goes on and two humans had set up a trap to catch the lion. The trap worked and the lion was tied up with no hope of escaping. Luckily the mous ...more
Edwin Reyes
Mar 27, 2016 Edwin Reyes rated it really liked it
The Lion and the Mouse is a story told through the illustrations. The main characters are what you would expect from the title, the Lion and the Mouse. We begin by following the mouse. The mouse who is out exploring here the noise of an owl. Knowing that he is food in the eyes of the owl and scatters away and hides. After feeling comfortable enough to leave his hiding spot he does so. What he did not expect was to be caught the mighty lion. The lion who could have easily ate him for a snack, let ...more
Jessica Orrett
Mar 27, 2016 Jessica Orrett added it
Shelves: rdg-291
The Lion and the Mouse is an almost wordless children's book written and illustrated by Jerry Pinkney. This book delights young children and adults alike with its charming illustrations that blend beautifully with the text of animal sounds. The story is based off of Aesop's fable, the Lion and the Mouse, where a unknowing mouse stumbles upon a lion. In an unlikely turn of events, the lion decides to let the mouse go, but he is later captured by a hunter. This endearing story will show young ones ...more
Alisia Matias
Mar 29, 2016 Alisia Matias rated it really liked it
Children are taken into the Serengeti, or the wilds plains, of Africa in this rendition of a classic fable, The Lion and the Mouse. By pictures alone, children can live the life of a mouse in this unfamiliar land, and will be able to tell the risks the mouse takes whenever it leaves home. The mouse unknowingly comes upon a lion, the king of beasts, in the field and looks to be gobbled up – until something magical happens. The relationship between predator and prey is turned inside out to teach a ...more
Karlie Jamieson
Mar 25, 2016 Karlie Jamieson rated it it was amazing
The Lion and the Mouse is a completely wordless book that contains only a few noises but mostly illustrations. The book tells a very short story of a mouse that finds himself in the hands of lion which would normally end in a sad death. Instead, the lion lets the mouse go free which allows it to return to its babies. This good deed helps the lion when he finds himself trapped by poachers and his good karma comes to the rescue.

Obviously, what struck me most about this story was the illustrations
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JERRY PINKNEY is one of children’s literature’s most time-honored artists. He has been illustrating children’s books for over 40 years and has more than 75 books to his credit. He has the rare distinction of being the recipient of five Caldecott Honor books and the winner of the Caldecott medal for The Lion and the Mouse. He has also won the Coretta Scott King Award five times, the Coretta Scott K ...more
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