Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Caldecott Challenge Post #7

Hey, Al! by Arthur Yorinks, illustrated by Richard Egielski. Published 1986. Caldecott Medal 1987. Farrar, Straus & Giroux. ISBN: 9780374330606 

Al is a struggling janitor in New York City, living with his talking dog, Eddie, who likes to complain. When a bird offers a chance to escape from it all, Al and Eddie jump at the chance, but soon find that living with the birds might require more than they're willing to give. This is such a surreal book, and I can't even begin to imagine how Arthur Yorinks began to imagine it, but it's bizarre plotline is exactly what makes it so good. Yorinks's decision to depict Al's apartment in small boxes with lots of white around them, and the land of the birds on larger two-page spreads creates wonderful contrast between the two worlds, and I love the subtlety of the final image where Al and Eddie repaint the apartment to reflect some of their newfound happiness.

No, David! by David Shannon. Published 1998. Caldecott Honor 1999. Scholastic, Inc. ISBN: 9780590930024
Based on a book he wrote as a child, David Shannon gives us No, David, the story of a wild terror of a little boy who is constantly hearing the word no. David is drawn in much the same way a child might attempt to draw a person, but with much more obvious skill. I especially enjoy his nose and teeth, and the way Shannon plays with point of view to showcase David's bad behaviors. The ending, which is surprisingly sweet, makes this a great book for parents who find themselves caught up in constantly saying no and need to remember the simple joys of loving one another.

Yo! Yes? by Chris Raschka. Published 1993. Caldecott Honor 1994. Orchard Books. ISBN: 9780439921855

This is a surprisingly great read-aloud. There is something about the very simple dialogue that draws kids in and gets them interested in what's going on and where the conversation is headed. It's impressive that an entire story can be told in such a small space, with so few words, between just two characters, but the use of line and shadow keeps the flow of conversation moving along visually while the text moves it along verbally and the result is this great testament to making new friends, no matter how different we might be.

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

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