Results of the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award in the year 1995.
John Henry is stronger than ten men, and can dig through a mountain faster than a steam drill. Julius Lester’s folksy retelling of a popular African-American folk ballad has warmth, tall tale humor, and boundless energy. Jerry Pinkney illustrates the story with “rich colors borrowed from the rocks and the earth, so beautiful that they summon their own share of smiles and tears” (Booklist).
Swamp Angel, a prodigious heroine who can disarm taunting men and marauding bear alike, is the original creation of a talented new writer whose tall-tale text unfolds in a crackling combination of irony, exaggeration, and sheer good humor.
Caldecott Medallist Paul O. Zelinsky, working in an American primitive style on cherry and maple veneers, brings his matchless wit and whimsy to these characters of extraordinary dimension. Drawing us into the luxuriant beauty of the American wilderness, his paintings flow with rhythm, deft expression, and a sense of monumental motion that befits a heroine who can wield a tornado like a lasso and drink a lake dry.
From the Great Smoky Mountains to the starry heavens above, Swamp Angel and Thundering Tarnation leave their indelible impressions on land and sky. So too will this book hold readers with its bold, expansive image-making—grandly demonstrating the flamboyant vigor and winking humor by which the tall-tale tradition endures.