Another book in the series of ""tall-tale Americana"" by the author of Casey Jones and Steamboat Bill. John Henry, ""the natural man"", is one of our real American legendary figures, and there is a growing opinion that the more books of this type published, the better for our children. The publisher lists it for 9 year olds and up, but the rhythm of the book is magnificent and can be felt even by 5 year olds. James Daugherty is the perfect illustrator for this, too. Legends and songs say that John Henry died with his hammer in his hand -- but Irwin Shapiro says ""No such thing Couldn't any steam drill send John Henry to his lonely grave He did feel poorly for a while, and weary and blue. But in the end he ran the steam drill right into the ground"". From the opening pages, where John Henry wanders into the middle of a New Orleans Mardi Gra, and when told to unmask, with everyone else at midnight, explains that he can't because that's the way he is; through the ""death"" scene, which is really a faint, but done completely as John Henry does everything, to the last page where he runs the steam drill into the ground, as the rising sun shines on his black skin, -- he and his wife Pollie Ann, and John Hardy, a Satan he can't always put behind hi people Shapiro's finest book.