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John Henry (Rabbit Ears: A Classic Tale (Spotlight)) Library Binding – September, 2004

4.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 1-3?John Henry appears in yet another retelling that seeks to add to the accomplishments of this American hero. This version repeats the traditional story of the baby born with a hammer in his hand, son of sharecroppers or former slaves, and ally of labor. He is pitted, man versus metal, against the new-fangled steam drill, and beats the machine. However, Kessler's reliance on a folksy, down-home approach with a dialect full of apocopes ("Now ain't no history books gonna tell you about John Henry, 'cause he was just too plain big for them books") makes the text somewhat confusing. Jackson's illustrations, although bright and colorful, lack consistency and sometimes make the steel-driving man appear downright silly. There are panoramas of the landscape, precipitous trestles, and lines of railroad ties that help give breadth to the monumental task of building a railroad, but all together there is a lack of the quiet dignity that the story of John Henry demands. Stick with Julius Lester's version, the now classic and ever-strong one by Ezra Jack Keats, or Terry Small's retelling in verse. Each adds something that the Kessler/Jackson offering lacks.? Harriett Fargnoli, Great Neck Library, NY
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From AudioFile

[Editor's note: The following is a combined review with THE BLUE JACKAL & THE FOOLISH LION, TWO GREEDY BEARS, and WILEY AND THE HAIRY MAN.] -- One of the joys of folktales is that the heroes and heroines come in all shapes and sizes. Those who live by their wits are a remarkable group of characters. This collection of folktales includes memorable examples. In Two Greedy Bears, Mirra Ginsburg retells the Hungarian tale of two affable bear cubs who exist in a state of one-upmanship and who are ultimately tricked out of their cheese by the sly and crafty fox. Their voices are childlike and boastful, and the listener can just picture the cubs posturing and pouting as they try to outdo each other. Their answers in unison to the fox are spectacular, but the fox is triumphant in his final bite. The Karadi tales offer two resourceful animals from Indian folklore. First a young hare, questioning, eager, and crafty, outsmarts the pompous lion who feeds on all the animals of the jungle. Then, a jackal falls in with a pot of blue dye and comes out the wiser, eventually. That a mother and son combination outwit the strange and scary creature of the Southern swamps is the triumph of Wiley and the Hairy Man. Wiley's mother is confident and cunning as she helps her son devise three ways to trick the Hairy Man, and this confidence echoes in Wiley's voice as he faces his nemesis. And the voice of the Hairy Man is just scary enough! There's no doubt that the hero is of exceptional size and capability in John Henry. Denzel Washington is friendly, conversational, and colloquial as he shares this tall tale. Who but John Henry could "bust out of his baby shoes" or drive steel "like it was going out of style"? Since John Henry "couldn't hammer without singing," Washington does, too! Listening to each of these folktales brings great pleasure and the suggestion to use wit and wisdom in our own lives. While listening, be sure to savor the exceptional artwork of Molly Bang in Wiley and the Hairy Man and B.B. King's musical accompaniment to John Henry. A.R. © AudioFile 2001, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 and up
  • Grade Level: Preschool and up
  • Series: Rabbit Ears: A Classic Tale (Spotlight)
  • Library Binding
  • Publisher: Spotlight (September 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591977649
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591977643
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 10.6 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,259,309 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

By M. Allen Greenbaum HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on June 19, 2000
Format: Hardcover
That's Denzel Washington (not Eric Clapton) teaming his prodigious talents with those of blues legend B.B. King in this powerful retelling of the classic American legend. This is another treasure from Rabbit Ear productions: a beautifully illustrated book that can be read on its own, or with the included cassette. Go for the cassette first: You'll be treated to Denzel Washington's warm, rich, folksy, awe-struck, conversational narration.
"So y'all listen up, `cause I'm gonna tell you the guaranteed, gold plated, ninety-nine-point-nice percent truth about John Henry."
Then, enjoy the inimitable riffs of B.B. King, as he and his guitar (presumably "Lucille") sing out with the pure, clear, authenticity of the blues: "My name is John Henry. I'm a born natural man. I was born one morning with a hammer in my hand . . . " This is collector material.
John Henry's triumph defends the dignity and perseverance of human labor against the encroaching machine. In its own small way, with a low-tech assist from the aural majesty of Washington and King, this volume preserves and extends the pleasures of the written page.
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Format: Hardcover
John Henry is one of the best Rabbit Ears titles - which is saying a lot. BB King is wonderful; Denzel Washington is wonderful. I'm not writing this for me - but if my 8 year old goes to sleep to it every (I mean, make sure you rewind that tape) night, then it is a wonderful book
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book was sent as a gift to my grandson. The font was too tiny for either of us to read and we could not change the size as we have been able to do with other books. is this a comic book where the size can't be changed? if so, that information should be clearly stated with the product information. I would like a refund for this product since it is unusable in its present form.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this book as much as my grandbabies did. Very entertaining and animated just right for my grandbabies. Thanks!
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