Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Caldecott Challenge Post #23

What Do You Do With a Tail Like This? by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page. Published 2003. Caldecott Honor 2004. Houghton Mifflin. ISBN: 9780618256280 

Steve Jenkins and Robin Page know exactly how to tap into kids’ curiosity about the natural world. Children love learning about the ways animals are similar to and different from humans, and this book introduces that information in an accessible and awesomely illustrated way. I love how realistic the images are,  and how they look almost three-dimensional, giving a great sense of each animal’s texture. The informational section at the back of the book is also very thorough so that adults can accurately answer small kids’ inevitable questions and bigger kids can find out more information on their own.

First the Egg by Laura Vaccaro Seeger. Published 2007. Caldecott Honor 2008. Roaring Brook Press. ISBN: 9781596432727 

This simple book explores the age-old question about the chicken and the egg and demonstrates other such relationships, such as that between a tadpole and a frog, a word and a story, and paint and a picture. The bright eye-catching illustrations make it visually appealing to babies and toddlers, and the book’s entire concept lends itself to a great writing and creativity exercise for older kids. Laura Vaccaro Seeger’s books are hit or miss for me, but this one is definitely a hit.

Alphabatics by Suse MacDonald. Published 1986. Caldecott Honor 1987. Simon & Schuster. ISBN: 9780027615203

When parents come to my library looking for a “simple” or “traditional” alphabet book, I often hand them this book because of its straightforward letter-object relationships. Parents like B to stand for balloon, F to stand for fish, etc. But what I didn’t realize until I actually sat down and read the book cover to cover is that this is more than a simple litany of the ABCs and boring objects starting with each letter. The shapes of the letters actually figure into the illustration of each object through a series of shifts and changes - the “alphabatics” suggested by the title. This gives the book a much larger, and older audience, encouraging kids who already know the alphabet to play with it, and giving young artists a suggestion for stretching their own creativity. Great stuff.

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

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