Sunday, April 15, 2012

Caldecott Challenge Post #22

The Spider and the Fly by Mary Howett, illustrated by Tony DiTerlizzi. Published 2002. Caldecott Honor 2003. Simon & Schuster. ISBN: 9780689852893

Tony DiTerlizzi’s interpretation of an 1829 English cautionary poem is exceedingly creepy. The spider, whose giant house is haunted by bugs who have gone before, does everything in his power to trick the fly, who is portrayed as an impressionable and dainty lady, to step into his web. The illustrations are completely grayscale, and every detail points to the fly’s inevitable fate. Things like the ladybug footstool on which the spider rests some of his legs and the book entitled “The Joy of Cooking Bugs” tell the reader exactly what kind of spider we’re dealing with, and make us anticipate the final outcome with morbid curiosity. This is definitely one of those picture books that works well for an older audience  - and probably for Tim Burton fans, too!

Frog and Toad Are Friends by Arnold Lobel. Published 1970. Caldecott Honor 1971. HarperTrophy. ISBN: 9780064440202

One of my earliest book-related memories is of the author studies we did in my first grade class. I remember just loving Arnold Lobel, and being sad when I discovered he had already been dead for two years. I don’t have any specific memories of reading the Frog and Toad books but I know I did because when I come across them, I have this sub-conscious sense of nostalgia and excitement. I love how gentle and understated everything is - even the art - and the fact that Frog and Toad are such an odd couple, but still such great friends. My favorite moment from this book is Toad’s frustrated pronouncement, “The whole world is covered with buttons and not one them is mine!”.

Hondo & Fabian by Peter McCarty. Published 2002. Caldecott Honor 2003. Henry Holt. ISBN: 9780805063523

Hondo the dog and Fabian the cat have different personalities, interests, and experiences, but at the end of the day, they always come back together again. My favorite Peter McCarty book will always be Henry in Love, but I like this one, too, for similar reasons - namely, the soft, dream-like quality of the illustrations, and the simple warmth and comfort of the story itself. I also love the way the two pets’ days mirror one another, even when they are not together. The only element I thought was unnecessary was the baby - she didn’t seem to add much to the story, and I think I would have liked it better with no direct human involvement.

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

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