Debbie Gillespie's Reviews > The Lion & the Mouse

The Lion & the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney
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Sep 24, 11

Read in September, 2011

Citation: The Mouse and The Lion, by Jerry Pinkney (Little Brown and Company, 2009)

Genre: Wordless Picture Book

Summary: The Lion and The Mouse, by Jerry Pinkney, is a beautifully illustrated, wordless depiction of Aesop’s Fable by the same name.

a. In Pinkey’s rendition, the timeless story of the lion, who spares the mouse from certain death and the mouse, who eventually returns the favor by saving the lion from a group of poachers, is slightly altered. The author’s subtle alteration of the dynamics of the story, to incorporate the families of both characters, adds to the reader’s understanding of the magnitude of the kindness being offered and the consequences that would ensue should either not be spared.
b. The author/illustrator’s use of minimal text, allows the reader to concentrate on the artistic interpretation of the theme “a kindness offered and a kindness re-paid” and the underlying premise that even seemingly opposites can have much in common. This all set amid the majestic backdrop of the Serengeti, lends to the beauty and magnitude of the tale.
c. From the wordless cover of the book, the reader is drawn in to both the beauty and splendor of the story. Every space available in the book is covered with a combination of watercolor and pencil-drawn art, telling the story of kindness and family. This is highlighted on page 12 and 13 as the pictures show the lion freeing the mouse and the mouse retuning to the love of his family. This is again depicted on the inside of the back cover as the lion is walking with his family after being rescued by the mouse. This is a lovely story that is magnificently told.

4. Curriculum Connection:
There are many ways that you can use this story in a number of grades, as the stunning pictures in the book transcend age. I would use this story to hook a student in to a discussion about civic responsibilities and highlight the idea of diversity. Below find the correlating first grade Virginia SOL, but many other grade levels have similar SOLs that could be used.

1.10 The student will apply the traits of a good citizen by
a) focusing on fair play, exhibiting good sportsmanship, helping others, and treating others with respect;
1.12 The student will recognize that communities in Virginia

c) include people who have diverse ethnic origins, customs, and traditions, who make contributions to their communities, and who are united as Americans by common principles.

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