Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Caldecott Challenge Post #21

Mr Rabbit and the Lovely Present by Charlotte Zolotow, illustrated by Maurice Sendak. Published 1962. Caldecott Honor 1963. HarperCollins. ISBN: 9780060269456

Maurice Sendak has a way of making everything seem creepy and surreal. I love the text of this story, but could never really connect with the illustrations because the rabbit seems so otherworldly and frightening. Interestingly, though, I do think the story would be a nice, uncommon addition to a Mother’s Day story time. Despite my uneasiness about the illustrations, I might still try sharing it with kids this May.


The Red Book by Barbara Lehman. Published 2003. Caldecott Honor 2004. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. ISBN: 9780618428588

This book shares a lot in common with Flotsam, another wordless picture book involving an object with strange interconnective powers. I like the variations in perspective, as well as the feeling, toward the end of the story, that the reader has stepped into the world of the book and become part of the action as well.

Rain Makes Applesauce by Julian Scheer, illustrated by Marvin Bileck. Published 1964. Caldecott Honor 1965. Holiday House. ISBN: 9780823400911

I really didn’t understand this book very well. It’s really neat to look at, with lots of details in the illustrations and a style that basically embodies fanciful childhood imagination. To me, though, the text just seemed really random, and I kept wishing the repeated refrain of “Oh, you’re just talking silly talk” was varied in some way to keep me interested. The one good thing I can definitely say is that the book celebrates the freedom to be silly, which is always worth protecting. I was also reminded a little bit of On Market Street - especially on the “I wear my shoes inside out” page.

The Three Pigs by David Wiesner. Published 2001. Caldecott Medal 2002. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. ISBN: 9780618007011

This retelling of the oft-told fairy tale transforms the three pigs from victims into masters of their own destiny. By literally escaping from the narrative, they’re able to circumvent the wolf and instead bring in their own reinforcements in the form of a dragon. I love that David Wiesner doesn’t anthropomorphize the pigs into people-like creatures, but that their eyes and snouts convey emotions - determination, pride, amusement, etc. - that the reader can instantly recognize. I also think it’s clever how the pigs move the pages of the story around and recreate the ending to suit their purposes.

See other Caldecott Challenge participants' blogs on the challenge page at LibLaura5. Follow my challenge progress here.

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