Like a shooting star, John Henry was born to move in a blaze of light, and they laid eyes on him. All the creatures from the biggest black bears to the fastest white-tailed deer to the proudest blue jays gathered around the admire the brand-new baby sparkling with life. John Henry was so strong, he could lift his cradle into the air like a feather. He grew so fast, he burst through the porch roof and then laughed so loud, he scared the sun! Soon John Henry was swinging his two huge sledgehammers as smooth as ribbon. Meeting up with a crew building a railroad line, he knew that he could dig through a mountain faster than their steam drill, so he decided to race it. Nothing could stop John Henry – no boulder, no mountain, and definitely no steam drill. Newbery Honor winner Julius Lester writes with such power that this African-American folk hero becomes as awesome as a natural phenomenon, yet as familiar as a strong older brother. The watercolor paintings by Caldecott Honor artist Jerry Pinkney show John Henry's energy bursting from nature.