Friday, July 23, 2010

Author and Illustrator, Jerry Pinkney

Back Home

Written by Gloria Jean Pinkney

Illustrated by Jerry Pinkney

The illustrations in author Gloria Jean Pinkney’s first picture book entitled, Back Home, are another superb testament to the talents of her husband, artist, Jerry Pinkney. The plot of this book is based upon Mrs. Pinkney’s own childhood experiences, and tells the reader about eight-year-old Ernestine who lives with her family up North. But, her roots are back in Lumberton, North Carolina, the place where she was born, where her mama grew up, and where her extended family lives. A long train ride takes Ernestine to visit her great-Uncle June, great-Aunt Beula, and Cousin Jack. As soon as she arrives, Ernestine feels she’s at home! It’s wonderful to see her family again, and Ernestine loves the ol’ family farm, the countryside, and especially her mama’s old room. While there, Ernestine has a chance to visit the house where she was born and to pay respects at her grandmother’s grave.
The visit is wonderful except for the occasional teasing from Cousin Jack about how “citified” she is!

This tender and charming tale is more of a nostalgic journey than a story with a plot; an account of family, days gone by, and the most important things in life. Artist Jerry Pinkney’s artwork, accomplished by using pencil, colored pencils, and watercolors balance this description of a young African-American girl’s adventure in years past.

I enjoyed this book because of its reminiscent nature and its reminders of a simpler time. The artwork is beautiful, done with the same artistic expertise readers have come to expect from Mr. Pinkney. Gloria Jean Pinkney is also the author of Sunday Outing. Other books illustrated by Mr. Pinkney are The Lion and the Mouse, The Ugly Duckling, Noah’s Ark, and Aesop’s Fables.

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