Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Caldecott Challenge Post #5

Marshmallow by Clare Turlay Newberry. Published 1942. Caldecott Honor 1943.  Harper & Row.  ISBN:  9780765109514

I'm not sure I have a great sense of why Clare Turlay Newberry's art is so special. For me, the illustrations were basically the same thing over and over again from different positions. That might make an interesting study for an art student, but for picture book art, it felt disconnected and random to me. It seems like the standards for picture books may have been somewhat different years ago, because nowadays, we place a much greater emphasis on the relationship between text and pictures.

April's Kittens by Clare Turlay Newberry. Published 1940. Caldecott Honor 1941. HarperCollins. ISBN:  9780060244002

The style of illustration in April's Kittens is very similar to Marshmallow, but I liked these illustrations a bit more. This might be related to the fact that I also liked this story more. It had more of a human side to it, and though I never had a cat, that concept is something many kids do relate to. I did wonder about the strange pressure April's parents put on her to choose between her grown cat and a new kitten, but based on how the situation resolves, I think it turns out to be okay.

Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey. Published 1941. Caldecott Medal 1942. Viking Juvenile. ISBN: 9780670035380

I have always loved thinking about Robert McCloskey actually allowing ducks to live with him while he worked on this book. I'm sure this is how he is able to infuse their little beaks and eyes with so much personality without actually anthropomorphizing them at all. I also think it's remarkable how he took such a simple thing - ducks nesting, and crossing the road to a new home - and made it into this great classic story. This will always be a favorite for me.

Kitten's First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes. Published 2004. Caldecott Medal 2005. Greenwillow. ISBN: 9780060588281

I will admit that when I read this book in library school, I didn't see what the fuss was about. Now that I am a children's librarian, though, I understand why everything Henkes writes is so well-loved. This book focuses on a cat who mistakes the moon for a bowl of milk and chases it down, until finally, she pounces on its reflection in a pond and comes out all wet. But in an ending reminiscent of that warm and comforting ending to Where the Wild Things Are, things turn out all right, and the kitten gets just what she needs. 

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

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