Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Caldecott Challenge Post #68

All in the Morning Early by Sorche Nic Leodhas, illustrated by Evaline Ness. Published 1963. Caldecott Honor 1964.

I always liked cumulative stories as a kid, and I still love books like The House that Jack Built as an adult. The repetition in this one was a bit tedious for me, however, and about halfway through, I stopped rereading the repeated bits and only read what was new on each page. I also don’t especially like the illustrations - not much happens in them, and the three-color palette starts to make every page look the same after a while.

Always Room For One More. by

I like this Scottish tale better than All in the Morning Early - possibly because it’s illustrated by someone else, possibly because I just liked the story and the rhythm better in this one. My favorite thing about the illustrations is the way the people are drawn with little cross-hatched lines. It gives the book a homemade feel that I really like and also somehow makes the figures seem more lively, as though they are in motion on the page. I was also really interested in the glossary at the back of the book, which explains all the Scottish words the author uses.

America’s Ethan Allen by Stewart Holbrook and Lynd Ward. Published 1949. Caldecott Honor 1950.

This is a lengthy biography glorifying the life of Ethan Allen. I learned a lot from it, but part of me felt like I was reading about Gaston from Disney's Beauty and the Beast. Ethan Allen is a big strong guy with a big mouth who gets his way by force. It felt weird to me that we were glorifying his bullying without considering the other sides of the story. America’s Ethan Allen seems to fit the same attitudes expressed in They Were Strong and Good. It sings the praises of an American hero, but doesn’t think very critically about his life or role in history. My favorite illustration is on page 53, where the Green Mountain Boys approach Sheriff Patterson from either side of a church. I like the reader’s interesting vantage point behind and above the church.

Cathedral. by David Macaulay. Published 1973. Caldecott Honor 1974.

Another interesting look at the process of constructing a historical building. Cathedral is basically the same in style and format as Castle. I think for me to connect with either of these books more I’d need more characters and less technical description. My husband also pointed out that it would have added a lot if the images of stained glass were in color.

The House that Jack Built. by Antonio Frasconi. Published 1958. Caldecott Honor 1959.

This is a really strange adaptation of one of my favorite cumulative stories. The neon colors really jump out at the reader, and some of the images are really abstract, such as the page where the dog runs back and forth growling, and the field of yellow corn where splotches of yellow rest against a black rectangle. I like the questions at the end, encouraging kids to recall the story, but for sharing this with kids, I’ll stick to Simms Taback’s more realistic-looking version.

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

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