Retold Fable by Caldecott Illustrator as Nearly Wordless Picture Book

I think that Jerry Pinkney is one of the finest watercolor illustrators ever to grace a children’s book. I would include Alan Say in that category as well. There is just something magical about Pinkney’s storytelling abilities when he puts brush to paper. Even as he conveys an old and well known fable, he brings his own spin to the story. I don’t want to be a spoiler but there’s a subtle surprise ending that kids seem able to easily interpret. It’s a good message for kids, particularly those who compete in sports.

I also like his wise elder message to adults, and it rings particularly true for me. Slow and steady wins the race but also remember to enjoy the journey. There are so few  words are in this gloriously illustrated practically wordless picture book set in the American Southwest, and yet he manages to convey several story threads. I guess that is why he is a Caldecott honored illustrator!

What is your favorite Jerry Pinkney book? Or your favorite watercolor children’s book illustrator? Please share!


Picture Book of the Day

The Tortoise and the Hare by Caldecott Medalist Jerry Pinkney

Pinkney says in his artist’s note, “‘Slow and steady wins the race’ was particularly meaningful in my youth, since I often struggled in school beause of dyslexia, but the moral rings truer than ever today. As the pace of our lives continues to speed up, many yearn for a less hurried approach to life. The tortoise proves that it can be wise to have a goal, but one should relish the process of getting there.” [nearly wordless picture book for ages 2 and up]

The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney

It was this picture book that garnered the Caldecott honor and I remember a mom at our school book fair who asked me if the lion on the cover was a photograph because it looked so real.  This is also a nearly wordless picture book; I think there are just a few onamatopoeic words included. [nearly wordless picture book for ages 2 and up]


Grandfather’s Journey by Alan Say

I wanted to include a picture book by Alan Say for anyone who likes watercolor picture books by a master illustrator.

Thank You Mr. Falkner by Patricia Polacco

Jerry Pinkney talked about his dyslexia in his author’s note and I thought it was interesting how those who struggle with dyslexia are often gifted with artistic talent. In this picture book, Polacco talks in an autobiographical way how her teacher Mr. Falker was able to teach her to read which changed her life completely. My kids’ 5th grade teachers use this advanced picture book as a read aloud and the kids told me this was one of their favorite books ever. [advanced picture book, ages 6 and up]


I hope you enjoy the Picture Book of the Day!


By Mia Wenjen, PragmaticMom


  1. I need to get a copy of that book – it sounds great!
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  2. Wow, what a wonderful book. I need to get the book as well. I just love watercolor, and in a picturebook – wow! Thank you for this post!

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