Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Caldecott Challenge Post #75

The Little Island by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated Leonard Weisgard. Published 1946. Caldecott Medal 1947.

I have always loved anything illustrated by Leonard Weisgard, and this book is no exception. I love the rich, deep colors he uses in his paintings, and the way he fills entire pages, with no white space leftover. The story is one of Margaret Wise Brown’s stranger stories, especially at the end, but I think it shares an important message about individuality and interconnectedness.

The Happy Day by Ruth Krauss, illustrated by Marc Simont. Published 1949. Caldecott Honor 1950.

Though my favorite Ruth Krauss books are those illustrated by Maurice Sendak, I do have a soft spot for the animals in this book. The front cover really doesn’t do justice to the cuteness - or the realism - of the animals inside. I love the chaotic movement on each page, and how it increases as excitement builds. And the ending is very sweet, just right for toddlers and preschoolers.

The Wave by Margaret Hodges, illustrated by Blair Lent. Published 1964. Caldecott Honor 1965.

I’m not too crazy about the illustrations in this book, but I like the storyline. The idea of one man sacrificing his own welfare to save his neighbors is a noble one, and I think kids really understand lessons like that when they are packaged in exciting scenarios like this one. One page I do like is the page where the wave rolls through and knocks against all the houses. I can feel the movement of the water, and sense how fortunate the people were not to be in their homes at the time of the disaster.

Baboushka and the Three Kings by Ruth Robbins, illustrated by Nicolas Sidjakov. Published 1960. Caldecott Medal 1961.

This book has such a charming look to it. It almost looks homemade, as though a child wrote and illustrated it. The story is essentially the same as the legend of Old Befana, only this one is Russian and Old Befana is Italian. I like that it has something of a religious message, that we have to be ready when Jesus comes, but that it also doesn’t vilify Baboushka, but gives her hope and a purpose while she waits for her opportunity to see Jesus once more. Oddly enough, my favorite illustration is the pattern on the endpapers. I love the blue.

Bear Party by William Pene du Bois. Published 1951. Caldecott Honor 1952. 

This book reminds me of the Teddy Bears Picnic song. I liked the illustrations of the costumes the bears wore the party, and the sound words used to evoke the music played at the party. I wasn’t quite sure what to make of the fact that the bears no longer recognized each other without their costumes, but it seemed like a commentary on how people grow apart when they fight to the point that they stop really knowing each other and focus instead on their anger. In any case, I think most kids would agree that a party is a pretty good way to end fights and bad feelings.

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

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