The Way to Start a Day. by Byrd Baylor, illustrated by Peter Parnall. Published 1978. Caldecott Honor 1979.
In poetic text, this book reflects on the various ways people start the day in countries all over the world. I like the concept, but the strange illustrations unsettled me. They were too abstract for me, and I had a hard time making sense of them. The writing, too, seemed cryptic and weird, and I’m not sure kids really relate to the idea of going out and singing to the sun first thing in the morning.
The Grey Lady and the Strawberry Snatcher. by Molly Bang. Published 1980. Caldecott Honor 1981.
This book is supposedly an allegory, but I couldn’t figure out what it represented. There are a lot of pages where very little happens, and I didn’t understand the significance of the ending, even though it seemed like a happy one. I tend to have mixed reactions to Molly Bang’s books, and this one is no exception.
Knuffle Bunny Too. by Mo Willems. Published 2007. Caldecott Honor 2008.
I can’t believe this was my first time reading this book. I know the original fairly well, but this sequel is almost always out of the library, and I’ve just never picked it up and read it all the way through. I think, though, that I like it more than the original. Trixie has even more personality now that she’s older, and I loved the looks she gave her classmate who happens to have the same bunny. I laughed out loud at the girls’ argument over whether the bunny’s name is pronounced “nuffle” or “kuh-nuffle,” and I thought the nighttime illustrations were some of the most beautiful in the entire book. I also loved the twist at the end, where, after everything, the girls actually want to share their bunnies with each other.
Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! by Mo Willems. Published 2003. Caldecott Honor 2004.
I have heard so much about this book and seen so much praise for it, that I’ve started taking for granted how brilliant it is. Mo Willems is an expert at giving kids funny, interactive books that excite them about reading and motivate them to learn how. I think the brilliance of this particular book is that it puts kids in control and lets them be the ones to say no for a change. I think kids also get the giggles when they realize they might sometimes act like pigeon when they don’t get their way.
My Mother is the Most Beautiful Woman in the World by
illustrated by Ruth Stiles Gannett. Published 1945. Caldecott Honor 1946.
I didn’t think the illustrations in this one were all that wonderful, but the message - that people are beautiful to us when we love them - is nice. The empty picture frame at the back of the book for kids to put their own mothers’ pictures in is a bit much, but I’m sure there are families who have taken advantage of it in their personal copies. This would also be a good one to use in a story time for older kids about Russia or Mother’s Day.
See other Caldecott Challenge participants' blogs on the challenge page at LibLaura5. Follow my challenge progress here.