Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Caldecott Challenge Post #73

The Most Wonderful Doll in the World. by Phyllis McGinley, illustrated by Helen Stone. Published 1950. Caldecott Honor 1951.

This book reads like an early chapter book, despite its lack of chapters. I’m not crazy about the illustrations, but I really enjoyed the story. I was a kid who had a lot of dolls, and I could relate to Dulcy’s love for her own dolls, and especially for the lost Angela. Dulcy remains realistic throughout the story - both in her building up of Angela and her bragging about her, and in her transformation after she realizes there is a difference between lying and imagining. Dulcy and the reader both learn a lesson, but from a child’s point of view, not because of outside adult influences.

Stone Soup by Marcia Brown. Published 1947. Caldecott Honor 1948.

I remember this story from childhood, and it remains a favorite. It’s somewhat puzzling to me as an adult how no one in this entire town ever figures out that they’ve been had, but as a kid, I always thought the whole thing was incredibly clever, rather than dishonest. My favorite picture from this one is the scene of the sleepy townspeople leading the soldiers toward the village where they will find beds to sleep in. I like the stars coming out overhead and the faces on the sleepy kids as they lean against their parents. The following page showing the soldiers sleeping in the priest’s, baker’s, and mayor’s house is a close second favorite. I like that each of the houses is entirely blacked out except for the small squares showing where the soldiers sleep.

Roger and the Fox by Lavinia R. Davis, illustrated by Hildegard Woodward. Published 1947. Caldecott Honor 1948.

I really like this one. I like that the endpapers show fox prints. I like the way the color - or lack thereof - on some pages evokes the cool, crisp weather. I like Roger’s determination to see a fox and his willingness to continue on his search even after adults tease and scoff at him. The touches of blue throughout the book look really interesting and I like the way the blue represents snow, water, and sky, depending on what is happening. I have a lot of favorite pages, but one that especially stood out is the page on which Roger wakes up “and the ceiling in his room glistened with reflected light.” I could remember that exact feeling, of waking up on a snow day to a room glistening in much the same way.

The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship. by Arthur Ransome, illustrated by Uri Shulevitz. Published 1968. Caldecott Medal 1969. 

My enjoyment of this book was chiefly because of the writing. Arthur Ransome has become a favorite author of mine as my husband and I have read through the Swallows and Amazons series, and his style is evident even in this Russian folktale, which deviates quite a bit from the British sailing adventures he usually wrote. I like stories about underdogs, of which the Fool of the World is surely one, and even though I think it’s weird that the princess has no say in who she will marry, I like that the Fool is able to win, with the help of other unusual, marginalized characters

The Steadfast Tin Soldier by Hans Christian Anderson, illustrated by Marcia Brown. Published 1953. Caldecott Honor 1954.

I really like this fairy tale, but I had no idea the ending was so gruesome! I have always loved that the soldier falls in love with the ballerina because she is standing on one leg. I’m not sure I understand the significance of the colors in the illustrations, or the reasons they get brighter or darker at certain points. My favorite pages in the book are the ones drawn with a gentler touch and lighter palette.

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

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