Noah’s Ark by Jerry Pinkney. Published 2002. Caldecott Honor 2003. Chronicle Books. ISBN: 9781587172014
I realize this is unusual, but I’m actually not a huge Jerry Pinkney fan. I recognize that he is talented, but because I don’t especially like animals, I have a hard time getting interested in his books. His version of the Noah’s Ark story is really no exception. I think he does a lovely job of capturing the crowded feeling of an ark filled with two of every species, and the visual representation of the actual building of the ark is likely to amaze kids who might otherwise have trouble imagining what that would look like. Noah also seems to look out of the page with a knowing expression at some moments, which makes the reader feel more like a part of the story. Still, though, something about it just doesn’t appeal to me.
Prayer for a Child by Rachel Field, illustrated by Elizabeth Orton Jones. Published 1944. Caldecott Medal 1945. Simon & Schuster. ISBN: 9780027351903
This book is one of my favorites of the entire list of Caldecott winners and honors so far. I love the focus on the ordinary everyday objects of a little girl’s life - her cup, her bed, her shoes, her mother’s hands - as well as the consideration for all the other children of the world, who are depicted in colorful diversity reminiscent of a much more modern book. It’s a great introduction to prayer for very little kids, and I think it also evokes a sense of nostalgia for adults. The little girl’s chubby fingers and buttoned pajama bottoms are also just great details.
Song of the Water Boatman by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Becky Prange. Published 2005. Caldecott Honor 2006. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. ISBN: 9780618135479
The illustrations in this book are all about perspective. We see ducks looking down from a nest into the water. We zoom in very closely on a dragonfly’s back. We see insects from a heron’s point of view. The effect is that the reader is drawn into each creature’s little slice of the pond and gets to see how they live from their own point of view. I also love the scenes on either end of the book - one of the pond in Spring, and another of the same pond, from the same vantage point, covered in Winter snow.
See other Caldecott Challenge participants' blogs on the challenge page at LibLaura5. Follow my challenge progress here.