Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Caldecott Challenge Post #42

All Falling Down by Gene Zion, illustrated by Margaret Bloy Graham. Published 1951. Caldecott Honor 1952. Random House. 9780437893505

This book reminds me a lot of All the World, which is easily my favorite picture book published since I was a child. The story is all about the concept of things falling down, but like All the World, it includes a lot of images of kids enjoying nature and engaging in activities not explicitly stated by the text. The illustrations lack any sort of ethnic or racial diversity, which is somewhat disappointing, but the figures have very sweet faces and the whole book has sort of a comforting feeling, especially in the end when the child’s Daddy doesn’t let him fall down. My two favorite images are the one on the beach, with the little girl standing with her hands on her hips in her polka dotted bathing suit, and the one where the kids stand out on the balcony in their pajamas looking up at the stars.

A Child’s Goodnight Book. by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Jean Charlot. Published 1943. Caldecott Honor 1944. HarperCollins. ISBN: 9780694008391

This bedtime book is one of my favorite Caldecott books. The repetitive text and some of the illustrations really remind me of Kevin Henkes’s Little White Rabbit, which I frequently share in story time. This would make a good story time book as well, with its soft colors and short sentences. The only thing that might keep from reading it would be that the story ends with a prayer and depicts a pair of angels watching over the child while he sleeps. That wouldn’t be appropriate in a public library setting, even if I do love the thought of asking God to guard “small things that have no words.” This is also a nice read-alike for another Margaret Wise Brown picture book, The Fathers Are Coming Home.

Hush! by Minfong Ho, illustrated by Holly Meade. Published 1996. Caldecott Honor 1997. Scholastic. ISBN: 9780531071663

This lullaby about a sleeping baby and the many animals who try to disturb his slumber is one of the few Caldecott books I didn’t know before this challenge that would actually work well in story time - and it suits our summer theme, too! I love the red outlines of the mother, her baby, and the various animals, which draws the eye to them and makes them stand out against the background. The repetitive nature of the text and the various animal sounds make it a great book for kids to interact with, and that baby - especially the picture of him on the last page - is just adorable. This is a new favorite!

The Storm Book by Charlotte Zolotow, illustrated by Margaret Bloy Graham. Published 1952. Caldecott Honor 1953. HarperCollins. ISBN: 9780064431941

A young boy learns about thunder, lightning and rainbows in this book about a sudden summer storm. The story also includes the perspectives of a city dweller, a fisherman, and a young couple with a baby. The most interesting thing about this book is that the text and illustrations never appear on the same page. Each spread alternates between two complete pages of words and two pages showing a wide view of the storm-ridden landscape. The nice thing about this approach is that the reader can imagine some things for herself/himself before seeing the artist’s interpretation. The only drawback is that, at times, the very broad pictures lose the little details of Zolotow’s text that young readers will undoubtedly want to find. (I was pleased to find the sandpiper on the page with the fisherman, though!)

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

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