The Big Snow by Berta and Elmer Hader. Published 1948. Caldecott Medal 1949. Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing. ISBN: 9780027379105
There are so many Caldecott books with animals in them! Of the ones I've read so far, The Big Snow reminds me the most of Animals of the Bible, in that both feature very naturalistic drawings of real animals. The animals in The Big Snow can talk, however, and some of the illustrations are in color. I'll admit that more classically drawn pictures like this don't really grab my interest, but I also want to say that I love the page where all the birds congregate together on the snowy boughs of the pine tree. Nothing could evoke Winter more strongly!
Hide and Seek Fog by Alvin Tresselt. illustrated by Roger Duvoisin. Published 1965. Caldecott Honor 1966. HarperCollins. ISBN: 9780688511692
This lovely book illustrates the look and feel of a three-day fog which settles in over the bay where children, lobsterman, and sailors must wait for it to lift. The pictures in this one are really impressive. It's amazing how, with so few clear lines, Duvoisin is still able to hint at the shapes of houses and people behind the thick, oppressive fog. I can remember being fascinated by fog as a kid, and I think Tresselt and Duvoisin understood that feeling and incorporated it into this book.
I remember this book so well from childhood because I thought Ezra Jack Keats's illustrations were among the most interesting and creative I'd ever seen in a book. I love the way Keats's snow is never just completely white, but has hints of pinks, blues, and purples as well. I will also never forget the fun Peter has taking a stick and knocking snow down with it. Such a simple thing, but what a memorable image.
Owl Moon by Jane Yolen, illustrated by John Schoenherr.Published 1987. Caldecott Medal 1988. Philomel ISBN: 9780399214578
I don't think I connected with this book very much as a kid, but I love to read it aloud now. I love the way it captures the stillness and anticipation of being out in the middle of the night, but also builds up, almost deceptively to the big reveal when the child narrator and Pa finally see the owl land on a branch before their very eyes. I was struck during this reading by how bright everything can seem, even though it's meant to be late at night, and by the way Pa's flashlight helps to illuminate the owl's eyes. The story itself derails a little bit at the end, with its neat little summary, but the illustrations are pure perfection.
See other Caldecott Challenge participants' blogs on the challenge page at LibLaura5. Follow my challenge progress here.