Cindy's Reviews > John Henry

John Henry by Julius Lester
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Aug 12, 09

bookshelves: childrens-reads, picture-books
Read in July, 2009

This is a wonderful retelling of an adventurous story of one of America’s legendary heroes. When John Henry was born, animals from all around came to see the child. He grew at an astonishing rate, and had a new wing and a swimming pool added to his parent’s house in the blink of an eye. He was always very helpful to his parent’s and those that were in need of help. John Henry decided one day that it was time for him to and make his own way in the work. He found a job building a road, using his graddaddy’s sledge hammers. It was at this job that John Henry would finally meet his fate.
This is a wonderfully written tale of a young African American Icon. This story has been told over many times throughout the years. Julius Lester does a wonderful job of pulling in the dialect of the time, but also adding a contemporary twist to help today’s readers relate to the story. Jerry Pinkney does a bit of storytelling of his own through his wondrous images. The watercolor paintings used to illustrate this wonderful tale do a fantastic job of telling the story all on their own. Pinkney does a fantastic job of depicting the character of John Henry and the world that he lives in.
I have read many versions of this tale, and found this one to be the most enjoyable to date. Lester and Pinkney make a wonderful team. Every book that they work on together ends up being a masterpiece. All libraries should contain all of their works.
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