JOHN HENRY by Brad Kessler


by & illustrated by
Age Range: 5 & up
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 A legend lives on in this polished debut by Kessler and Jackson. John Henry moves from folk figure into mythical heights; pounding steel and singing his tunes, he's an inspiration to every worker, a natural man with a hammer in his handnation-builder and hero. ``A man's got a heart inside,'' sayeth John, ``a big old beatin' heart. But a machine ain't got nothin' but a soul of cold steel.'' Kessler niftily mines this wonderful story for humor as well as pathos: ``At two years old, he was jugglin' chickens for fun. At six he was wrestlin' with razor-backed hogs and jugglin' chickens at the same time.'' Jackson's high-spirited illustrations, featuring sculptured, glistening supporting characters and John Henry's larger-than-life presence, are a superb complement to the story. A bright, funny piece anytime, and a special pleasure to read aloud. (Picture book/folklore. 5+)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-689-80190-4
Page count: 36pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 1995