This particular Aesop fable is familiar to most - the story of a wee, insignificant mouse who happens to disturb a lion. Well, of course, the little mouse is a mere tidbit for the lion. Nonetheless, this magnificent king of the jungle decides to let the little fellow go.
Later, the lion is entrapped by poachers and the little mouse remembers the lion's kindness and manages to set the lion free. There is so much to be learned from this fable and there are many different interpretations of the story. This wordless version by noted artist Jerry Pinkney is remarkable not only for the beauty of Pinkney's work but because it allows the reader or in this case story teller to offer a different narrative each time the book is shown. One never tires of looking at the artist's stunning full page paintings, and young listeners don't tire of hearing the story over and over again, each time with a slightly different twist.
The mantel at Pinkney's home must sag with the numerous awards he has received - four New York Times Best Illustrated Awards, five Caldecott and Coretta Scott King Awards, etc. All so richly deserved. Since I've no trophy to offer I merely send thanks for one more beautifully illustrated book that will become a part of our permanent collection.
- Gail Cooke