Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Caldecott Challenge Post #77

The Wheel on the Chimney by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Tibor Gergely. Published 1954. Caldecott Honor 1955.

The text in this book, which is all about the lives and flight patterns of storks, is a bit on the dry side, but the illustrations more than make up for that. I have never seen a better visual representation of the way birds move - not just as individuals, but in flocks. Most of the illustrations are great, but my favorite is the one where the flock of white storks lands on the green field where the woman in pink sits painting them. I also love the pinkness of all the flamingos as the storks land by the side of the water in Africa.Tibor Gergeley knows how to capture nature in a visceral way that leaves the viewer breathless.

Frog Went a Courtin’ by John Langstaff, illustrated by Feodor Rojankovsky. Published 1955. Caldecott Medal 1956.

I owned a paperback version of this book as a kid, and I always liked that it looked like a coloring book the author had colored in with crayons. I didn’t care much about the romance, but loved seeing the different creatures file in for the wedding supper. Reading it now, my favorite pictures are of the raccoon carrying the silver spoon and the chick wearing his bib. (I am kind of freaked out by the chick lying down being forced to drink castor oil after he eats too much.) I like that the animals all seem very large and important until the tom cat comes along and gives us some perspective. It’s a neat way to sort of end the magic of the party before Frog and Miss Mouse run off to France!

Moon Jumpers by Janice May Udry, illustrated by Maurice Sendak. Published 1959. Caldecott Honor 1960

Maurice Sendak was already one of my favorite children’s authors and illustrators before I saw this book, but his illustrations of these children playing outside at night took me right back to my own childhood. I love the way he depicts the glow of the moon on the tree branches and on the lawn, and that one of the little boys looks just a tiny bit like Max. Janice May Udry also gets major kudos for lines like, “We climb the tree just to be in a tree at night.” Why do kids do things? Often just to do them. This book captures that feeling of being out at night just for the sake of it in a magical and timeless way.

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


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