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Children’s Book Review: 2010 Caldecott winner The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney

Reviewed by Marcia Maynard

The cover of this year’s Caldecott winner, The Lion and the Mouse, is captivating and shows the passion that author/illustrator Jerry Pinkney has for his work, this fable and for animals.

the-lion-the-mouse-by-jerry-pinkneyBased in the African Serengeti of Tanzania and Kenya, the story is painted in earth-toned watercolors. As in the cover, the pictures often fill the page and are the heart of the story.  Aside from a few animal sounds, the story is wordless, allowing families to retell this classic story in their own words and interpret the moral for themselves.

Pinkney shows us the difference in animal sizes on the title page by painting the tiny mouse sitting in a lion’s paw print. The mouse is soon chased by an owl and escapes, only to accidentally crawl onto a sleeping lion.

The enormous lion wakes, looks the mouse over, but decides not to harm the little creature. The mouse runs home to a nest of babies.

Pinkney takes us further into the desert, where two faceless poachers set a net trap. As the lion wanders through the trees he triggers the trap and is yanked from the ground. The terrified and helpless lion roars. The mouse hears the roar and runs to the lion.

Pinkney uses four scenes to show how difficult it is for the tiny mouse to chew through the thick rope that holds the lion captive.  Readers will cheer on the mouse until the lion is finally set free.

The Caldecott Medal is an annual award given for the most distinguished American picture book for children. Randolph Caldecott’s birthday in March 22, 1846.


The Lion and the Mouse
By Jerry Pinkney
Little Brown Books for Young Readers

Marcia Maynard stays home with her two sons and plays. Prior to her current role as mom, she was an elementary school teacher and reading specialist.

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