Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

Qty:1
FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books.
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
John Henry (Picture Puffi... has been added to your Cart
+ $3.99 shipping
Used: Good | Details
Sold by BigHeartedBooks
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: This item is gently used in good or better condition. If it is a textbook it may not have supplements. It may have some moderate wear and possibly include previous owner's name, some markings and/or is a former library book. We ship within 1 business day and offer no hassle returns. Big Hearted Books shares its profits with schools, churches and non-profit groups throughout New England. Thank you for your support!
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 3 images

John Henry (Picture Puffins) Paperback – December 1, 1999

4.3 out of 5 stars 34 customer reviews

See all 14 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Price
New from Used from
Paperback
"Please retry"
$7.99
$3.19 $0.01
Audio CD
"Please retry"
$89.99
Unknown Binding
"Please retry"
$9.95

Best Books of the Year So Far
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for the Best Books of the Year So Far in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.
$7.99 FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books. In Stock. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
click to open popover

Frequently Bought Together

  • John Henry (Picture Puffins)
  • +
  • Paul Bunyan (Reading rainbow book)
  • +
  • Pecos Bill
Total price: $21.97
Buy the selected items together


Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A great American hero comes fully to life in this epic retelling filled with glorious, detailed watercolors. From his momentous birth, when all the animals come to see him and the sun won't go to bed, John Henry works wonders. As a child he helps his father by adding "a wing onto the house with an indoor swimming pool and one of them jacutzis"-and that's just before lunch. Other episodes trace the growth of his generous spirit. His greatest feat is, of course, in his battle against the steam drill, as he races the machine to cut through "a mountain as big as hurt feelings." He dies ("he had hammered so hard and so fast and so long that his big heart had burst"), but the onlookers understand that "dying ain't important.... What matters is how well you do your living." This carefully crafted updating begs to be read aloud for its rich, rhythmic storytelling flow, and the suitably oversize illustrations amplify the text. As only one example, the animal witnesses of his birth reappear throughout, most notably to watch John Henry's funeral train pass by. 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. All ages.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 5-Another winning collaboration from the master storyteller and gifted artist of Tales of Uncle Remus (Dial, 1987) fame. Based on several well-known versions of an African American folk ballad, Lester's tale is true to the essence of the steel-driving man; yet, it allows room for touches of whimsy and even includes some contemporary references that tie the hero to our own times. Told with just a trace of dialect, the story moves along briskly toward the climax. Its moral message of the importance of a well-lived life is clearly stated, and the ending is uplifting. Pinkney's marvelous watercolors, abundantly rich in detail, convey both the superior strength and the warm sense of humanity that make John Henry perhaps a more down-to-earth character than some other tall-tale figures. The paintings' muted earth tones add a realistic touch to the text, bringing this John Henry alive. When viewed from a distance, however, figures and details sometimes blend together, making the book better suited to independent reading that group sharing. It will appeal to an older audience than Ezra Jack Keats's John Henry (Knopf, 1987) and is a fine addition to any folklore collection.
Nancy Menaldi-Scanlan, Wheeler School, Providence, RI
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

New York Times best sellers
Browse the New York Times best sellers in popular categories like Fiction, Nonfiction, Picture Books and more. See more

Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Lexile Measure: AD720L (What's this?)
  • Series: Picture Puffins
  • Paperback: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Puffin Books; Picture Puffins edition (December 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140566228
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140566222
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 0.1 x 11.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #70,367 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on March 13, 2004
Format: Hardcover
If you haven't read a book that combines the individual talents of Lester and Pinkney (Julius Lester writes, Jerry Pinkney draws) then this might be a good place to start. The two artists have reinterpreted a variety of classic African-American tales to their own liking. From their, "The Tales of Uncle Remus: The Adventures of Brer Rabbit" to the more recent "Sam and the Tigers" (a reworked "Little Black Sambo") they are nothing if not prolific. With this book they tackle one of this country's tallest tales. The legend of John Henry. And whether you delight in their version or cling to the story you learned as a child (as I confess, I did while reading it) you have to step back and admire their enthusiasm.
In this version of "John Henry" the duo has consulted a variety of texts and versions, adding some special touches and flourishes of their own. This John Henry is a baby one day and an adult the next. He can outrace the meanest man in town and carve through solid rock with a rainbow draped across his shoulders. When the final showdown against a steam drill comes, John Henry's ready. He beats that drill only to die from a burst heart. We are assured, however, that he is buried on the White House Lawn and that at night you can hear his voice singing.
There's some getting used to here, certainly. No refrain of, "I'm gonna die with a hammer in my hand" is chanted. And John Henry doesn't work the railroads with everyone else. Rather, he accidentally stumbles across the man with the steam engine while on travels of his own. And then Lester has tried to make the story applicable to the youth of today. He did this in "The Tales of Uncle Remus" too, and I had some very similar problems.
Read more ›
Comment 10 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Our grandson loves this story. We actually live just over an hour's drive of Talcott, WV; home of the John Henry statue and the tunnel where John Henry raced the steam drill. Our grandchildren have always been interested in the story of John Henry and consider him to be a true American hero. There are many songs written and sung about him in our area. I was pleased to find this book, especially in hard-cover. Instead of cards (which most people do not keep), my husband and I give our grandchidren a book each year for their birthday and we write our message to them as well as the date and their age on the inside cover. This book was our grandson's "birthday card" or book, I should say; hopefully he will keep the book and be able to remember his birthdate and will always have the message from "Nanny & Poppy" inside.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
Julius Lester's version of the legend of John Henry is well-told. I laughed out loud when Lester described Ferret-Faced Freddy, a man "so mean, he cried if he had a nice thought." Lester also uses marvelous metaphors (next to a large mountain, John Henry doesn't look "much bigger than a wish that wasn't going to come true"). Lester's version is very different from other versions I'm familiar with (such as Ezra Jack Keat's), but I love it.
Pinkney, who has teamed up with Lester on other books (my favorite is "Sam and the Tigers"), provides beautiful illustrations to accompany the text.
Comment 4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In a three star review, the reviewer writes, that a reference to jacuzzi is confusing in the story of John Henry. Julius Lester, the author of John Henry, explains in his book "Unlce Remus, The Complete Tales, "...the reader will notice a shifting from past to present tense in some stories. Black English does not make hard distinctions between past and present. Is something that happened in the past but is present in emotions, past or present? It is both, according to black people". I am not black but I get it, and totally agree.

Mr. Lester writes that John Henry added onto his parents home an indoor swimming pool and a "jacutzis". But John Henry is a legend from 1929? How then could a jacuzzi be a part of the story? The reference to the "jacutzis", I found while reading to my grandhcildren, is simply wonderful, a little gift! It delighted the children as I read to them because children instantly feel the excitment of a swimming pool and "jacutzis". It does not matter that the story takes place in 1929 to a child. What matters is that the mention of a "jacutzis" instantly creates excitment in children and they relate to John Henry as a fun loving and caring son who gifted his parents with such gifts of love and appreciation. (It also serves as a cleaver writing tool, for older children).

There are more cleaver examples of past and present emotions used in this wonderful story. But the real treat comes at the end when you read what matters most of all in life is "how well you do your living".

The coupling of Julius Lester with Jerry Pinkney is a wonderful enticement to readers of all ages. It is impossible to turn the page without resting your eyes on each detail that Pinkney so unselfishly provides. His art is never ending.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a nice book. I like it. I don't think my children probably like it as much yet. I wish the illustrations were a bit more child-friendly. They are a bit too artistic and adult for children. The test has a nice rhythm, without being actual poetry. I thought there was more to the story, but I'm probably just remembering it wrong from childhood.
Comment One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

John Henry (Picture Puffins)
Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more about Amazon Giveaway
This item: John Henry (Picture Puffins)

Pages with Related Products. See and discover other items: folk tales