We received our copy of Jerry Pinkney's The Lion & The Mouse yesterday, and I have to say, it is the most beautiful book I've ever seen. The book has no words with the exception of roar and a squeak here and there. It tells its version of Aesop's fable of the Lion and the Mouse in pictures.
You open the cover and there is a safari scene with giraffes, zebras, lions, yellow grasses and washed out skies. Then, on the title page you see a mouse walking in the footprint of a lion. As the pages go on you see the mouse escape an owl and end up on a lion's back. The lion looks at the mouse and lets the her go; she returns to her nest and babies. Then you see men setting up a net, you see the lion walking into the net, and you see the lion caught in the net. The lion's roar echos across the Savannah and the mouse hears it, she runs to find the lion, chews through the net, and sets him free. The mouse brings home some net to feed her babies.
Except for the night scene when the mouse first runs from the owl the whole book is done in warm soft colors; yellows, oranges, browns, reds & pale green. I feel the heat of Africa emanating from the pages. More than a story, more than a book, it is an experience of art, a masterpiece that happens to retail for $16.99.
Jerry Pinkney has illustrated FIVE Caldecott Honor books, but no actual winners. If I were a judge this book would be a winner, it is as previously mentioned, a masterpiece. The Lion & The Mouse is Spellbinder's Book of the Week this next week, so at 20% off you can get a masterpiece for $13.59 before tax.