Books by Jerry Pinkney

THE TORTOISE & THE HARE by Jerry Pinkney
Released: Oct. 1, 2013

"A captivating winner—start to finish! (artist's note, design notes) (Picture book/folk tale. 3-6)"
With luminous mixed media pictures, a short, carefully meted-out text and a Southwestern U.S. setting, Pinkney (The Lion and the Mouse, 2009) takes on another of Aesop's fables—marvelously. Read full book review >
PUSS IN BOOTS by Jerry Pinkney
Released: Nov. 13, 2012

"Handsomely turned out, as can be expected…but Pinkney himself notes that he studied over 20 illustrated editions of the story before producing one of his own, and he offers nothing particularly fresh. (Picture book/folk tale. 7-10)"
A retold but intact version of the familiar tale, given the customary early-18th-century setting in illustrations crowded with figures and period detail. Read full book review >
TWINKLE, TWINKLE, LITTLE STAR by Jerry Pinkney
Released: Oct. 3, 2011

"Just another superb outing from a fixed star twinkling in the children's-literature firmament. (Picture book. 3-6)"
In Pinkney's sumptuous elaboration of the familiar lullaby a chipmunk's nighttime odyssey takes on the same epic scope as his Caldecott winning The Lion and the Mouse (2009). Read full book review >
THREE LITTLE KITTENS by Jerry Pinkney
POETRY
Released: Oct. 1, 2010

"An appealing update of a perennial favorite. (Picture book. 3-6)"
An expanded version of the familiar rhyme provides an ideal opportunity for Caldecott Medalist Pinkney to create a trio of truly adorable kittens and their long-suffering mother. Read full book review >
POETRY
Released: Oct. 1, 2009

"The illustrator is at his best in the wordless full-bleed doublespreads interspersed throughout the book, which set a contemplative pace that invites flipping back and forth through the pages documenting the Sweethearts' travels, triumphs and travails. (Picture book/poetry. 10-14)"
Nelson brings her signature poetic treatment of history to this outstanding collaboration with illustrator Pinkney about a racially integrated "all-girl swing band" that toured the United States during World War II. Read full book review >
THE LION & THE MOUSE by Jerry Pinkney
Released: Sept. 1, 2009

"Unimpeachable. (Picture book. 3-6)"
A nearly wordless exploration of Aesop's fable of symbiotic mercy that is nothing short of masterful. Read full book review >
THE MOON OVER STAR by Dianna Hutts Aston
FICTION
Released: Oct. 1, 2008

"While the family is African-American, there is no explicit connection to the historical Jemison, rendering this tale gorgeously universal. (Picture book. 6-9)"
Twenty-three years before Mae Jemison became the first African-American woman to travel into space, a young girl living in the small Southern town of Star anxiously awaits the first step of a man on the moon. Read full book review >
LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD by The Brothers Grimm
Released: Oct. 1, 2007

"A beautiful new rendering. (Picture book/fairy tale. 3-6)"
A gorgeously illustrated version of the classic tale, this time with a brown-skinned protagonist. Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 25, 2007

"Pinkney's watercolor illustrations are masterful, as always, capturing the emotions on the girls' faces and filling in details of the family's Depression-era world. (Picture book. 4-8)"
McKissack and Pinkney join forces for their third collaborative effort in this story of three sisters who have to share one doll for Christmas during the Depression. Read full book review >
AIN’T NOBODY A STRANGER TO ME by Ann Grifalconi
ANIMALS
Released: April 1, 2007

"The title is actually a quote, and though here it's taken out of context and, in the author's note, incorrectly attributed to a man, it makes a powerful statement across racial lines, nationalities and generations. (Picture book. 7-9)"
In this moving testimonial, an old man eloquently recalls escaping from slavery with a few apple seeds in his pocket, as he and his young granddaughter stroll out to the lushly flowering orchard that has since grown from them. Read full book review >
THE LITTLE RED HEN by Jerry Pinkney
ANIMALS
Released: May 1, 2006

In this pointed retelling of the familiar tale, Pinkney expands the cast by giving the industrious title bird a bevy of chicks, plus not three but four indolent animal neighbors, all of which are drawn naturalistically and to scale in big, comical farmyard watercolors. Read full book review >
MUSIC FROM OUR LORD’S HOLY HEAVEN by Gloria Jean Pinkney
MUSIC AND THE ARTS
Released: Oct. 1, 2005

"Additional materials include a short introduction for adults by Troy Pinkney-Ragsdale and a biographical essay with family photographs by Gloria Jean Pinkney about the significance of music and religion in her life. (Nonfiction. 4-10)"
The talented Pinkney family collaborated in the creation of this inspirational collection of traditional Christian hymns and related psalms. Read full book review >
THE OLD AFRICAN by Julius Lester
Released: Sept. 1, 2005

"Lester's prose is powerful and poetic, and Pinkney outdoes himself in hauntingly expressive, often wordless double-page paintings that masterfully capture the strength and suffering of the African people. (Illustrated fiction. 12+)"
Whips sink into bare flesh and red blood glistens in Lester's painfully vivid, four-part story of the horrors of slavery that evolves into a fantastical escape myth. Read full book review >
GOD BLESS THE CHILD by Billie Holiday
MUSIC AND THE ARTS
Released: Jan. 1, 2004

"The evocative recording on the CD ends too quickly; there is much to pore over and discuss here, and this remarkable work is worth picking up (and listening to) more than once. (Picture book. 4-8)"
With Holiday's music and Pinkney's art, this package sets expectations high—and doesn't disappoint. Read full book review >
NOAH’S ARK by Jerry Pinkney
Kirkus Star
adapted by Jerry Pinkney, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney
RELIGION
Released: Oct. 1, 2002

"A glorious choice for reading aloud. (Picture book/nonfiction. 7-9)"
Pinkney, at his grandest, matches a poetically phrased text—the Ark "rose over their heads. Read full book review >
THE NIGHTINGALE by Hans Christian Andersen
Released: Sept. 1, 2002

"Exquisite bookmaking and Pinkney at his finest. (Picture book/fairy tale. 7-10)"
Pinkney's (Goin' Someplace Special, 2001, etc.) gouache and watercolor illustrations have the stained radiance of sunlight through glass; even his figures appear lit from within. Read full book review >
GOIN’ SOMEPLACE SPECIAL by Patricia C. McKissack
FICTION
Released: Sept. 1, 2001

"A natural for group sharing; leave plenty of time for the questions and discussion that are sure to follow. (Picture book. 5-9)"
In a story that will endear itself to children's librarians and, for that matter, all library lovers, 'Tricia Ann begs her grandmother to be allowed to go alone to Someplace Special. Read full book review >
AESOP’S FABLES by Jerry Pinkney
Kirkus Star
adapted by Jerry Pinkney, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: Oct. 1, 2000

"A masterpiece. (Fables. 5-10)"
Gracing 61 fables from Aesop, or at least in the Aesopian tradition, Pinkney's watercolors display both masterful draftsmanship and an uncommonly keen eye for natural detail. Read full book review >
ALBIDARO AND THE MISCHIEVOUS DREAM by Julius Lester
ANIMALS
Released: Oct. 1, 2000

"Pinkney's mixed-media illustrations are colorful, spirited, and as gorgeous as anything he's ever done, but fail to save this story. (Picture book. 5-8)"
Lester's original fable is clever, but ultimately disappointing. Read full book review >
THE LITTLE MATCH GIRL by Jerry Pinkney
Released: Oct. 1, 1999

"The result is so affecting that some will believe they're encountering this story for the very first time. (Picture book/folklore. 5-9)"
Pinkney's deeply moving treatment of Andersen's classic tale moves the events to an urban America of the 1920s. Read full book review >
THE UGLY DUCKLING by Jerry Pinkney
adapted by Jerry Pinkney, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney
Released: March 1, 1999

"A spirited, artistic adaptation, and a welcome addition to the shelves. (Picture book/folklore. 3-9)"
Outstanding illustrations and some new characters make Pinkney's retelling of a familiar tale memorable. Read full book review >
Released: May 1, 1998

"Lemmons may not have the name recognition of Nat Love or Bill Pickett, but his exploits were no less spectacular. (Picture book. 8-10)"
The creators of Sam and the Tigers (1996) proffer this fact-based tale of a black cowboy named Bob Lemmons, famed for his ability to track and capture herds of wild mustangs. Read full book review >
RIKKI-TIKKI-TAVI by Rudyard Kipling
Released: Sept. 1, 1997

"Pinkney puts his heart into a story he loves, and makes it live again. (Picture book. 5-10)"
Pinkney dwells on this story of Rikki-tikki-tavi, the sensible, brave mongoose adopted by an English family living in India. Read full book review >
THE HIRED HAND by Robert D. San Souci
Released: May 1, 1997

"Inspired by a small Virginia anti-slavery town for its setting and drawing from 18th-century costume with the influence of European fairy-tale art, Pinkney works his magic by blending both character and drama with the hushed tones of history. (Picture book/folklore. 5-9)"
An African-American folktale from Southern oral tradition, first recorded in the late 19th century. Read full book review >
SAM AND THE TIGERS by Julius Lester
Released: Sept. 1, 1996

"As usual, Lester's prose is fine and funny read-aloud, but the creative interplay of text and pictures doesn't reach the heights of this team's John Henry (1994). (Picture book. 6-8)"
A sassy retelling of Little Black Sambo, set in the imaginary land of Sam-sam-sa-mara, where animals are people, too, and all the humans are named Sam. Read full book review >
JOHN HENRY by Julius Lester
adapted by Julius Lester, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney
Released: Oct. 1, 1994

"Amen. (Folklore/Picture book. All ages)"
Onto the page bounds the colossus John Henry, man of legend, man of myth (though the preface keeps things off balance on that point). Read full book review >
THE SUNDAY OUTING by Gloria Jean Pinkney
Released: June 1, 1994

"A welcome companion to Back Home. (Picture book. 5-9)"
In Back Home (1992), Ernestine visited an aunt and uncle down South; this book explains how that journey came to happen. Read full book review >
THE LAST TALES OF UNCLE REMUS by Julius Lester
Released: Feb. 1, 1994

"Essential. (Folklore. 7+)"
The fourth volume of a landmark retelling completes the roster, with Lester's witty contemporary voice ("I reckon I should push the pause button on this story 'cause you want to know how the axe could see her coming," or, "she did the laundry and...the colored clothes stood up and started singing a commercial") still serving the original tales' subversive humor with splendid originality. Read full book review >
I WANT TO BE by Thylias Moss
Released: Sept. 1, 1993

"Exhilarating, verbally and visually: the very essence of youthful energy and summertime freedom. (Picture book. 5-10)"
The untrammeled exuberance of a free-spirited youngster, eager to explore everything, sings through a poetic story. Read full book review >
A STARLIT SOMERSAULT DOWNHILL by Nancy Willard
Released: Sept. 1, 1993

"Delectable. (Picture book. 4+)"
In gossamer lyric verse, delicate as early snow, a whimsical tale of a reluctant rabbit who's persuaded to join his friend the bear in a long, safe winter sleep, only to find himself tossing and turning alone: " 'O prudent friend! Read full book review >
NEW SHOES FOR SILVIA by Johanna Hurwitz
Released: Sept. 1, 1993

"Just right. (Picture book. 3-8)"
"Far away in another America," little Silvia receives a treasured gift from Tia Rosita (who's in the US)—fine red shoes, too big for her to wear. Read full book review >
DRYLONGSO by Virginia Hamilton
Released: Oct. 1, 1992

"A lovely tribute to all good people who still know how to negotiate peaceably with the earth on which they depend. (Fiction. 8-12)"
In a concluding note, Hamilton discusses the origins of the name she gives Drylongso, "a youth imbued with simple human kindness. Read full book review >
DAVID'S SONGS by Colin Eisler
Released: Sept. 1, 1992

"Though sometimes only tangentially related to the texts, Pinkney's full-page paintings add their usual measure of dappled dignity to this handsome, earnest introduction. (Poetry. 8-12)"
Though David's connection with many Psalms is tenuous, Eisler, an art historian, links together several dozen extracts that "share the same strong sound" and express the vision, faith, and humanity of a great leader. Read full book review >
BACK HOME by Gloria Jean Pinkney
Released: Sept. 1, 1992

In her picture-book debut, the author—as Donald Crews did in Bigmama's (1991, ALA Notable)—re-creates the childhood experience of coming from a northern city to visit relatives in the rural South. Read full book review >
THE MAN WHO KEPT HIS HEART IN A BUCKET by Sonia Levitin
Released: Sept. 1, 1991

"Pinkney's dappled, impressionistic watercolors depict an idyllic old-time world, his lively characterizations reinforcing the sense of a companionable, close-knit community. (Picture book. 4-10)"
In a literary fable with a pleasing folkloric lilt, a respected YA novelist tells an inviting story about love. Read full book review >
JAHDU by Virginia Hamilton
FANTASY
Released: Sept. 29, 1980

"Elusive."
"I'm a streak of light! I'm a trick-maker! Read full book review >
ROLL OF THUNDER, HEAR MY CRY by Mildred D. Taylor
Released: Oct. 1, 1976

"Taylor trusts to her material and doesn't try to inflate Cassie's role in these events, and though the strong, clear-headed Logan family is no doubt an idealization, their characters are drawn with quiet affection and their actions tempered with a keen sense of human fallibility."
At first Cassie Logan and her brothers, a year or so older than they were in the much briefer, gong of the Trees, (1975) are only dimly aware of rumors that two men have been killed and one badly burned by a white mob. Read full book review >
SONG OF THE TREES by Mildred D. Taylor
Released: April 1, 1975

"This is enough to make us feel their specialness, as elsewhere the prose is plain and direct the story al- is allowed to tell itself."
Song of the Trees, which won a Council on Interracial Books award, is based on one of the true stories the author's father used to tell about growing up black in Depression-era Mississippi. Read full book review >