Pinkney, Jerry. 2009. THE LION AND THE MOUSE. New York: Little, Brown. ISBN 9780316013567 [Suggested Grade Levels PreK- 3]
This almost wordless picture book set in the African Serengeti, retells the fable of the mouse and the lion. The story unfolds from spread to spread, with animal sounds providing the only text. The art propels the story page by page. Pinkney’s portrayal of the two creatures as equal in strength is seen on the wordless jacket with the lion on the front and the mouse on the back.
The art fills the pages in lush, lifelike paintings done in pencil, watercolor, and colored pencils. The colors echo the African setting and the mix of inset and full-page art moves the story onward as the mouse disturbs the lion’s rest. Expressive but realistic animal faces add to the emotion of the story, particularly during the lion’s capture. This book portrays the fable in a new way and does so beautifully through the art. Simple yet evocative, the story and moral resonate in this visually driven book.
Talk about how the art tells the story. Have the children suggest lines for each page. Gather several other examples of the fable and read them. Compare the different styles and formats. Elicit reactions of the children to the different versions.
Other fables of the lion and mouse for children:
Percy, Graham. THE LION AND THE MOUSE. 978-1602532038
Watts, Bernadette. THE LION AND THE MOUSE. 9780735812215
By Shirley Duke