Three Jovial Huntsmen by Susan Jeffers. Published 1973. Caldecott Honor 1974. Macmillan. ISBN: 9780689713095
I didn’t know this nursery rhyme at all until reading this book, and I have to admit that the book made it pretty confusing. I like the interesting clothing Susan Jeffers puts on the three huntsmen, but couldn’t figure out why were so clueless about actually finding an animal. The rhyme and rhythm of the nursery rhyme is enjoyable to hear, but I think I’d be better off just enjoying the way it sounds without trying to figure out what it means.
Seven Simeons by Boris Artzybasheff. Published 1937. Caldecott Honor 1938. Viking Press. ISBN: 9780670635740
This wordy tale about a king in search of a princess who can match his good looks was unusual, but enjoyable at the same time. I expected the book to be a lesson for the king about the superficiality of good looks, but what emerges instead is a story about seven brothers, each with special talents, who help the king solve his problem of bringing home his desired bride. The illustrations are gorgeous in their original format, and the few colors used to draw them really pop off the page and grab the eye. My husband bought a newer edition of this book in the bookstore after we read the much older library copy, and we were disappointed to discover that the color of the pages, and the ink used for the lines, had been changed. It’s still a nice book, but the original was truly beautiful.
Sing Mother Goose by Opal Wheeler, illustrated by Marjorie Torrey. Published 1945. Caldecott Honor 1946. ISBN: 9789997490223
I know tunes for a lot of Mother Goose rhymes, but this book introduces all different ones, which I’m actually anxious to learn and try out in story time. The colors of the illustrations are so bright and kid-friendly, at first glance they seem very similar to contemporary picture book illustrations; only the faces on the figures make it obviously old-fashioned. Interestingly, despite the splashes of color throughout most of the pictures, my favorite page in the entire book is a black and white one, where a young girl looks up at the old woman tossed up in a basket. I love the way the sky and old woman take up such a huge piece of the page, showing the vastness of the sky and the height of the basket. Other highlights were Little Boy Blue slumped under the haystack with the rolling fields of farmland in the background and the image of a girl and her elderly grandfather that accompanies Pease Porridge Hot.
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