This 1971 winner of the Caldecott Medal worked really well with my kindergarten students. One day, a fox, traveling through a forest, notices a pail of milk. He quickly laps up all the milk but is caught by the old lady who owns the pail. Angry that the fox drank all her milk, the old lady cuts of his tail. He asks her to please sew it back on so his friends won’t tease him. She tells him that she’ll sew it back on if he brings her more milk. So begins fox’s journey to find milk.
The fox meets a cow who won’t give him milk unless the fox gives her some grass. He goes to the meadow, but the meadow won’t give him grass until she gets water and so on. Finally, after six different people ask him for something the miller takes pity on the poor fox, giving him some grain to give to the hen so he can have an egg to give to the peddler and so on until he has enough milk to pay back the old woman. The old woman does finally sew back on the fox’s tail. My guess is that our fox won’t be stealing milk again. 🙂
This Caldecott Medal winning book is superb. I have always been a fan of Jerry Pinkney’s illustrations, but this book is truly beautiful. The Lion & the Mouse is a wordless retelling of Aesop’s fable of a lion who spares a mouse’s life and then has his life saved by the mouse. The moral of the story? “Even the strongest can sometimes use the help of the smallest.”
The illustrations in this book are breathtaking. I love watching my students intently look at each page and then listening as they recount the story to me. Pinkney says in his author’s note at the end of the book, “My curiosity and reverence for animal life has grown over the years, and my concern for them grows in equal measure. It seemed fitting, then to stage this fable in the African Serengeti of Tanzania and Kenya, with its wide horizon and abundant wildlife so awesome yet fragile – not unlike the two sides of each of the heroes starring in this great tale for all times.” It is clear that Pinkney loves animals, because I honestly believe that the detail is so wonderful in these pictures, that I can read the animals’ expressions.
This is a book that would be an incredible addition to any child’s library.