Sunday, January 31, 2010
The Lion, Indiana, and the Mouse
You have probably heard by now that The Lion & the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney won the Caldecott Medal, an annual award honoring the best illustration in an American children's picture book. We love the cover and think the Lion bears a strong resemblance to our golden retriever, Indiana. (Imagine him with a mane.) Indiana certainly considers himself king of the household, just as the Lion is the king of the jungle and forest!
Pinkney, a highly regarded artist and illustrator, won the Caldecott Honor five times as well as many other awards, but this one caps his long career. Read an interview here.
The dyslexic Pinkney applied, studied, and perfected his drawing craft, compensating for his reading and writing difficulty. He specializes in creative retellings of folktales or fables.
In the case of his Caldecott winner, he retells Aesop's old fable of the lion & the mouse using only pictures of the African savannah and spelling out animal sounds. He brings the tale to life in a new way, allowing every reader to put his or her own nuance into the story. Themes beyond Aesop's moral emerge, with the animals' expressions evoking emotions from fear to empathy to relief to humor. Every spread is a visual feast.
Congratulations, Jerry Pinkney! Thanks for creating a book for all ages of readers and all ages of time.