T-Bone, The Babysitter. by Clare Turlay Newberry. Published 1950. Caldecott Honor 1951. ISBN: 9780060245061
I was relieved to discover that this Clare Turlay Newberry book actually almost resembles a true picture book. Though her style still strongly favors portraits that have very little to do with the text, she has at least cut down on the amount of text in this book, and it is laid out on the page in a way that at least resembles what a modern picture book looks like. Still, though, it will never cease to amaze me how she manages not to illustrate the best and most exciting parts of her own stories.
Little Lost Lamb by Golden MacDonald (Margaret Wise Brown), illustrated by Leonard Weisgard. Published 1945. Caldecott Honor 1946. ISBN: 9789999239899
This might sound strange, but one of my favorite things about this book is the feel of its pages. The book is printed on these thin, translucent pieces of paper that make a delightful crinkling sound when I turn them. I also love that the paintings take up the entire recto side of each spread, filling them with these beautiful nature scenes. The use of color to portray the change from night to day is very effective, as is the arrangement of the text on the page when it talks about the sheeps “BAA” noises. I don’t know if this was intentional or not, but I thought the story could made a nice allegory for a human being’s relationship to Jesus Christ - it definitely would have been useful back when I was teaching religion to elementary school kids, whether the message was intentional or not. Finally, I was so pleased to learn something new as a result of this book - Golden MacDonald is a pen name belonging to none other than Margaret Wise Brown!
When Will the World Be Mine? by Miriam Schlein. Published 1953. Caldecott Honor 1954. ISBN: 9789997490339
This book about a young rabbit anxious to grow up and take on the world makes an interesting allegory for childhood. Kids ask their parents many of the same questions the rabbit asks of his mother, and probably receive similar answers. I especially like the mother’s statement about the role of various pieces of nature: “The stream must run as the field must stand still, the stars must fade when the sun comes up, and only the bird can fly over the hill.” This is such a beautiful and poetic way of describing the facts of the natural world. The illustrations - which have a rust and green color scheme - also evoke nature. I especially like the way the jagged lines of grass and leaves contrast with the roundness of the rabbit’s features.
One Fine Day. by Nonny Hogrogian. Published 1971. Caldecott Medal 1972. Aladdin. ISBN: 9780020436201
This book is very similar to The Greedy Sparrow and other tales of its kind where an animal character must make continuous trades in order to repay a debt or gain something desired. In this version, the character is a fox, and the story is very straightforward. It follows predictable from point A to point B and then ends happily. I love the long nose of Hogrogian’s fox, and the way the position of his nose clues the reader into his mood and demeanor depending on what is happening in a given illustration. I’m not sure the story really has a message, but the illustrations keep it interesting enough that it doesn’t much matter.
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