Sunday, July 8, 2012

Caldecott Challenge Post #32

Goggles by Ezra Jack Keats. Published 1969. Caldecott Honor 1970. Puffin. ISBN: 9780140564402
I love pretty much all of Ezra Jack Keats’s books, and it surprises me that this one isn’t better known. It involves a lot of universal themes - bullies, dogs, jealousy, and friendship - and it empowers little kids to stand up to big kids. I love that Archie and Peter are able to outsmart the big boys. I like the way the illustrations zoom in and out from a long scene of the street to the view from the inside of a large pipe. As in all Keats’s illustrations, I also love the use of different prints and patterns to evoke the urban landscape.

The Stray Dog by Marc Simont. Published 2001. Caldecott Honor 2002. ISBN: 9780439442541

The text of this story is pretty basic and straightforward, but the illustrations are nearly perfect. I love the personality Simont infuses into the dog’s various movements and tricks. I love how he is able to show the family’s distraction and sadness after they leave the dog behind in just pictures, with only one sentence to sum it all up. My favorite image of all is the one where the kids give the dog a bath in the steamy bathroom. I wish the book had more exciting text to really make it a perfect picture book, but the illustrations are true works of art.

My Friend Rabbit by Eric Rohmann. Published 2002. Caldecott Medal 2003. Square Fish. ISBN: 9780312367527

I like Eric Rohmann’s use of space in this book. The way he fills the entire two-page spread with huge animals really gives a sense of their large size relative to the smaller rabbit and mouse. There is so much movement and anxiety in each page where the animals are being stacked one by one, and their fall - complete with the ducks’ frantic movements just before it happens - is beautifully done. This book is a difficult read-aloud, and I don’t much care for the story, but I do appreciate the fact that the entire tale can be found in the pictures. For kids who don’t read yet, that means a lot.

Sam, Bangs, and Moonshine by Evaline Ness. Published 1966. Caldecott Medal 1967. Square Fish. ISBN: 9780805003154

I don’t really understand this book that well, and the illustrations, though interesting, don’t seem like the most kid-friendly. There is a ton of text, so I would never use the book at story time, and I just couldn’t get myself to connect with it on any level. I did think it was interesting that none of the illustrations really have backgrounds, and I liked the image of Thomas with his hat and his bicycle. Otherwise, I just felt umcomfortable and bored with the story.

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

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