- 1995 Boston Globe - Horn Book Award Winner (Picture Book)
- 1995 Caldecott Medal Honor Book
Julius Lester and Jerry Pinkney's warm, humorous retelling of a popular African-American folk ballad.
When John Henry was born the birds, bears, rabbits, and even a unicorn came to see him. He grew so fast, he burst right through the porch roof, and laughed so loud, he scared the sun! Soon John Henry is swinging two huge sledgehammers to build roads, pulverizing boulders, and smashing rocks to smithereens. He's stronger than ten men and can dig through a mountain faster than a steam drill. Nothing can stop John Henry, and his courage stays with us forever.
A Caldecott Honor Book
* "This is a tall tale and heroic myth, a celebration of the human spirit . . . The story is told with rhythm and wit, humor and exageration, and with a heart-catching immediacy that connects the human and the natural world. " --Booklist, starred review
"Another winning collaboration from the master storyteller and gifted artist of Tales of Uncle Remus fame." --School Library Journal
"A great American hero comes fully to life in this epic retelling filled with glorious, detailed watercolors . . . This carefully crafted updating begs to be read aloud for its rich, rhythmic storytelling flow, and the suitably oversize illustrations amplify the text." --Publishers Weekly