Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Caldecott Challenge Post #72

The Desert is Theirs by Byrd Baylor and Peter Parnall. Published 1975. Caldecott Honor 1976.

I really don’t care for the Byrd Baylor / Peter Parnall picture books. I don’t even have anything to say about this one except that, like the others, it was a disappointment.

The Treasure by Uri Shulevitz. Published 1979. Caldecott Honor 1980.

I like this story for its message, its surprise twist ending, and the warmth of the facial expressions on both Isaac and the captain. I appreciate the fact that Isaac sends a reward to the captain for his role in his discovery of the treasure, and that he is thankful for the wealth he receives. This story is a great lesson in following one’s dreams, being charitable with one’s wealth, and in the way a journey away from home can help us see something new about a place we’ve always known.

The Contest by Nonny Hogrogian. Published 1976. Caldecott Honor 1977.

This story was perfectly fine right up until the end, and then I got really confused. The way the story was set up, I expected Ehleezah to be punished in some way for her duplicity concerning the two robbers. I have no idea how to read that final image, other than as a happy ending, and that didn’t really work for me within the context of the story. If the focus of the entire book is on the contest between the two robbers, why include Ehleezah at all? Why should we care what happens to her? It would have been much more interesting if she either wound up alone, or if she found herself another set of willing victims and conned them all over again. Perhaps we’re supposed to read it as a positive thing that she ditches the robbers, but I see nothing in the story itself to suggest that. A strange book.

Nothing at All. by Wanda Gag. Published 1941. Caldecott Honor 1942.

Are all editions of this picture book oversized? The one I borrowed from my local library is huge, and I can’t help but think all books should be available in this size for story time! In any case, though I didn’t like this book as much as Millions of Cats, it’s a pretty good pet story. Nothing at All’s quest to become visible would make a really nice flannel board, thanks to its incremental changes to the invisible dog’s appearance and its repetitive refrain: “I’m busy getting dizzy!” I also love the way the dogs’ houses correspond to their shapes.

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

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