Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Caldecott Challenge Post #76

The Thanksgiving Story by Alice Dalgliesh, illustrated by Helen Sewell. Published 1954. Caldecott Honor 1955. 

This is a romanticized retelling of the pilgrims’ journey to the New World, of their relationships with the American Indians, and of the first Thanksgiving feast. It’s told in this strangely distant tone that glosses over anything bad that happened, and toward the end, it’s slips into this conditional language, guessing at what could have taken place at the Thanksgiving feast instead of telling us what did happen. The book jacket calls it a “book to read aloud to children when they first want to know why we have Thanksgiving day.” It’s really far too long for preschoolers, and not particularly informative. I also didn’t think the illustrations supported the text that strongly. They were sort of abstract and again, focused on only mundane things, not the more exciting or emotional parts of the story.

Green Eyes by Abe Birnbaum. Published 1953. Caldecott Honor 1954.

On his first birthday, Green Eyes looks back on his year as a kitten, then looks ahead to life as a full-grown cat. This book is so contemporary-looking, it could have been published today. The illustrations have strong, bold lines and lots of color, and the text is pretty minimal - I might consider using this one when I do my pet-themed story times in a few weeks! My favorite page is the spread where the picture window looks out on the white of the snow and Green Eyes curls up in his box beside the radiator.

Ape in a Cape by Fritz Eichenberg. Published 1952. Caldecott Honor 1953.

I like the rhyme Eichenberg uses for each letter of the alphabet, and I was disappointed to lose it on the last page. My favorite rhymes were “vulture with culture” and “Irish setter with a letter.” The picture of the Irish setter was probably my favorite image in the whole book, mostly because many of the others looked creepy and unsettling to me. In terms of talent, though, the most impressive picture is of that little rabbit holding down the lid over the “fox in a box.” That is a picture that truly speaks a thousand words.

Anatole by Eve Titus, illustrated by Paul Galdone. Published 1956. Caldecott Honor 1957.

This book reminds me a lot of Library Mouse - but this classic story is better written and more fun. I love the idea of a mouse wanting to make an honest living instead of stealing from people, and I like that the people respond favorably, even giving him an important title and lots of treats for his trouble in helping find the best cheese flavors. My favorite feature in the illustrations is the shade of blue used to depict nighttime. I also love the playful little mice children.

Mice Twice by Joseph Low. Published 1980. Caldecott Honor 1981.

A cat invites a mouse to dinner in the hopes of eating her, but mouse is too smart for that. She brings her friend dog with her. In a true game of cat and mouse, the rival animals go back and forth trying to outsmart each other, until finally Cat gets what’s coming to him. This book makes clever use of well-known rivalries in the animal kingdom, with an end result that will surprise and delight preschoolers.

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

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