Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins. by Eric Kimmel, illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman. Published 1989. Caldecott Honor 1990.
This is one of my favorites from the entire challenge thus far. The goblins have outlawed Hanukkah, but Hershel is too smart to let them get away with it. Each night, he tricks a different goblin into letting him light the menorah, until finally he wins the holiday back from the evil creatures. The story is fun, not scary, and kids learn about dreidels, menorahs, and other Hanukkah traditions as part of the plot. The illustrations of the goblins are cartoonish, showing they are no real threat, and I love Hershel’s warm, friendly, and playful facial expressions. This book would pair well with How the Grinch Stole Christmas for a joint Christmas-Hanukkah program.
Saint George and the Dragon. by Margaret Hodges, illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman. Published 1984. Caldecott Medal 1985.
This is a nice introduction to the Faerie Queene for preschoolers, with great pictures. My eyes tend to glaze over when dragons appear, but even I could appreciate the talent of the illustrator who portrayed all the excitement of the story so beautifully. Though I don’t think my library branch has a copy of this, it is one I often talk about with four-year-old boys. They can’t get enough!
Golem. by David Wisniewski. Published 1996. Caldecott Medal 1997.
I didn’t really understand the message of this book, but I did enjoy the style of the illustrations. My favorite page is actually the very first page with text. I was struck by the contrast between black, dark buildings and the illuminated ones, and of the small figures with torches against the black background. The content of the story itself didn’t appeal to me, but I do understand why it was recognized by the Caldecott committee.
It Could Always Be Worse. by Margot Zemach. Published 1977. Caldecott Honor 1978.
I love this story, but had never seen this version of it. I think everybody has times where they need to be reminded of this story’s message and given a little sense of perspective. Since I’d heard the story before, this interpretation of it didn’t really do anything new for me, but I would like to try it in story time and see how preschoolers or kindergarteners like it.
See other Caldecott Challenge participants' blogs on the challenge page at LibLaura5. Follow my challenge progress here.