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John Henry (picture book)

John Henry is a 1994 children's picture book by Julius Lester and illustrated by Jerry Pinkney. It is about the American legendary figure John Henry.

John Henry
John Henry (picture book).jpg
AuthorJulius Lester
IllustratorJerry Pinkney
CountryUnited States
GenreChildren's literature, Folk tale, picture book
Published1994 (Dial Press)
Media typePrint (hardback)
Jane Byers Bierhorst is credited as the book designer


The Horn Book Magazine, in a review of John Henry, wrote "The original legend of John Henry .. has been enhanced and enriched, in Lester's retelling, with wonderful contemporary details and poetic similes that add humor, beauty, and strength." and called the book's illustrations "little short of magnificent."[1] Booklist wrote "Like Lester's great collections of the Uncle Remus tales, also illustrated by Pinkney, the story is told with rhythm and wit, humor and exaggeration, and with a heart-catching immediacy that connects the human and the natural world."[2]

Publishers Weekly gave a starred review finding it an "epic retelling" and concluded "This may not supplant more traditional retellings, such as Terry Small's The Legend of John Henry, but it is a triumph of collaboration from the creators of the noted Uncle Remus retellings."[3]

John Henry has also been reviewed by Kirkus Reviews,[4] School Library Journal,[1] Book Links,[5] Teacher Librarian,[6] and Library Talk.[7]



  1. ^ a b "Little Red Riding Hood: Reviews". Retrieved January 5, 2017.
  2. ^ "John Henry". Buffalo and Erie County Public Library. Retrieved January 5, 2017.
  3. ^ "John Henry". Publishers Weekly. PWxyz LLC. October 3, 1994. Retrieved January 5, 2017.
  4. ^ "John Henry". Kirkus Reviews. Kirkus Media LLC. October 15, 1994. Retrieved January 5, 2017.
  5. ^ "John Henry (Book)". Book Links. American Library Association. 13 (5): 27. May 2004. Retrieved January 5, 2017.
  6. ^ "Five Mighty Men". Teacher Librarian: The Journal for School Library Professionals. Rockland Press. 37 (4): 66. April 2010. Retrieved January 5, 2017.
  7. ^ "Multicultural: African-American legends & biographies". Library Talk. Linworth. 8 (4): 43. September 1995. Retrieved January 5, 2017.
  8. ^ "John Henry". Parents' Choice Foundation. Retrieved January 5, 2017.
  9. ^ "Past Boston Globe–Horn Book Award Winners: 1995 - Picture Book". May 30, 2011. Retrieved January 5, 2017.
  10. ^ "John Henry, 1995 Caldecott Honor Book". ALA. Retrieved January 5, 2017.

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