Thursday, June 28, 2012

Caldecott Challenge Post #30

The Village of Round and Square Houses by Ann Grifalconi. Published 1986. Caldecott Honor 1987. Little, Brown. ISBN: 9780316328623 

This tale of the African village of Tos tells of how the village came to separate itself by gender - with the men in square houses and the women in round ones. I saw some criticism on Goodreads claiming that “If anyone had ever actually read this book, it would have set us all back about 500 years” and indicating that it glorifies the notion of “separate but equal.” While I didn’t enjoy the book, I don’t think it’s really fair to judge the cultural beliefs of this village based on our American ideals. The very first page of the book tells us this is a true story, and I think we do ourselves a disservice when we automatically dismiss stories like this because we’re worried they’re in some way misogynistic or anti-feminist. That said, I wasn’t thrilled with the story just on its own merits, and found it mostly forgettable.

Jambo Means Hello by Muriel Feelings, illustrated by Tom Feelings. Published 1974. Caldecott Honor 1975. Puffin. ISBN: 9780140546521

I think kids really enjoy learning how to say words and phrases in languages other than their own. This book does a nice job of introducing Swahili vocabulary and using these words and their accompanying illustrations as opportunities for teaching about East African culture. I was also surprised by the elaborate process that went into creating the illustrations. I’m still not sure why a children’s book without any color or any real plot would be so appealing, but there is something eye-catching about it. Still, though, I wonder if kids pick this book up without an adult recommendation.

So You Want to be President? by Judith St. George, illustrated by David Small. Published 2000. Caldecott Medal 2001. Philomel. ISBN: 9780399234071

My library does not have the revised and updated edition of this book, which, based on my searching at Amazon, would include George W. Bush, but not Barack Obama. I hope the book does continue to be revised over time, however, because it’s probably the best kids’ book about presidents that I have ever read. Kids love statistics - so knowing how many presidents share a first name, or which ones went to college really interests them. I also think this book humanizes each president so that his personality comes through and kids feel a sense of sympathy and affection toward him. This book is funny and clever, and David Small’s illustrations perfectly capture the tone of Judith St. George’s writing. Another favorite from the list of Caldecott winners.

What Do You Say, Dear? by Sesyle Joslin, illustrated by Maurice Sendak. Published 1958, Caldecott Honor 1959.  HarperCollins. ISBN: 9780064431125

I thought I knew most of Sendak’s books, but this one wasn’t on my radar until after he died. In a tone similar to the present-day Dinosaur books by Jane Yolen (How do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? etc.), this book asks kids to think about the appropriate etiquette for silly situations such as bumping into a crocodile on the street and eating too much spaghetti at dinner with the Queen. The absurdity of the text by Sesyle Joslin is the perfect playground for an illustrator like Sendak, and the earnest little faces of the characters he draws could not be more delightful. In them there are also hints at Pierre, Chicken Soup, and Max, who become the stars of Sendak’s later books.

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

Pajama Story Time, 6/27/12

I don't always sing at the evening story times, but I had some regular story time goers show up last night, and I didn't want to break the routine  they're used to, so we at least did a hello song, and a couple more when we got restless. There were three kids in all - a crawling baby, a shy two-year-old and a boy who was probably three.

Opening Song: Hello, how are you?


Book: Farmyard Beat by Lindsay Craig, illustrated by Marc Brown (2011)
This is a GREAT read-aloud for small groups as well as big ones. I asked the kids to identify each animal and also repeat the sounds after me. Perfect for a  pajama story time! 


Book: Owl Babies by Martin Waddell, illustrated by Patrick Benson (1992)
I love this story. It's got a plot, and yet is still simple enough to read to very small kids.

Song: Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star

Book: May I Bring a Friend? by Beatrice Schenk de Regniers, illustrated by Beni Montresor (1966)
I love introducing this book to families who don't know it yet. I also love it when kids giggle at the various animals' hi-jinks. Both things happened this time!

Book: Mommies Say Shhh! by Patricia Polacco (2007)
A perfect ending to a quiet story time. Everyone made the animal sounds and seemed to enjoy making the shushing sound as well. 

Song: Moon Moon Moon
The three-year-old boy was very unenthusiastic about singing, but seeing his face light up when I sang about the moon looking like a pizza pie was so worth it. Adorable! 

Goodbye Song: We Wave Goodbye Like This

7 Road Trip Books for Tweens & Teens


The Popularity Papers: Book Four: The Rocky Road Trip of Lydia Goldblatt & Julie Graham-ChangThe Rocky Road Trip of Lydia Goldblatt & Julie Graham-Chang
by Amy Ignatow
Best friends Lydia and Julie take a road trip with their parents  to visit various landmarks and family members, including Julie’s grandparents and Lydia’s father and his new family.
Don't Stop NowDon't Stop Now
by Julie Halpern
Lillian must face her feelings for best friend Josh when they drive across the country together to rein in a friend who has faked her own kidnapping.
The Moon by Night (Austin Family, #2)The Moon by Night
by Madeleine L'Engle
The summer before they move to New York City, the Austin family takes a road trip, during which Vicky is wooed by an abrasive and sickly young man.
The Last Little Blue Envelope (Little Blue Envelope, #2)The Last Little Blue Envelope
by Maureen Johnson
To find out what the last blue envelope from her aunt contains, Ginny must travel with her love interest, his girlfriend, and a disagreeable stranger who will reveal the letter's instructions only one step at a time.

Amy and Roger's Epic DetourAmy and Roger's Epic Detour
by Morgan Matson
When her father dies and her mother moves to California, Amy is left to drive out West with Roger, her mother's friend's son on whom she soon develops a surprising crush.
From What I Remember...From What I Remember
by Stacy Kramer and Valerie Thomas
On the eve of her high school graduation, Kylie Flores takes an accidental road trip to Mexico where she learns secrets from her dad's past and inadvertently marries a classmate.
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