Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A Visit to Mineapolis Central for 5 Rare Caldecott Honor Books

On Sunday the Bud and I took a trip to the Minneapolis Central  Public Library. They have a permanent reference collection called Milestones that seems to house every Caldecott Medal and Honor book.

The Bud loved the awesome, interactive entrance.

From what I gathered, at certain times the collection is browse-able (based on staffing), but when we were there I had the librarian pull titles for me. 

Fish in the Air by 

This was actually a very cute, entertaining  story about a boy named Fish, who likes things shaped like fish to go with his name: shoes, lanterns, etc. But when he gets the biggest possible kite shaped like a Fish, he gets pulled up into the air and flies about town.

What I really didn't like is that the images are very stylized in a way that feels like stereotypes, and all of the skin color is bright yellow.

I have a feeling that I will have the same concern with his other honor book, You Can Write Chinese from 1946.

Good Luck Horse by 

This is a very rambling story about a horse made from paper that, with the aid of magic, is turned into a real horse. The horse is alternately good luck and then bad luck and ends being good luck.

The most interesting thing about this book is that the illustrations were drawn by a 12 year old Chinese boy. I photographed the foreword (below) which explains this - click to make the photos larger. That makes Plato Chan the youngest illustrator to win a Caldecott Honor!

There is more interesting information about the young illustrator on this blog post from Collecting Children's Books.

Little Lost Lamb by pseudonym for Margaret Wise Brown)

This is a sweet story about a little black lamb, this only black sheep in the flock, runs off with a mind of it's own and gets lost.

I really like the mountain scenes and how once the lamb runs off and is lost, it gets dark and the pictures change from color to black and white creating a nice effect.

Bambino the Clown by 

I'm not really a fan of clowns, they creep me out a bit. An this book did nothing to change that for me.
In fact the opening creeped me out before there was any clown action: 
A strange old man finds a boy crying near a tree. The boys has lost his hat. So the man says come home with me and I will get you and even better one. So the boy goes with him!

If I read this with any children, we would definitely need to have a chat about stranger danger!

Pierre Pidgeonby 

This was my favorite of the 5 books I read at Minneapolis Central. I really like the illustration style, the sense of place, and the focused storyline that has a connection between the illustration and the text that appears on the page (so not the case with many of the early Medal and Honor books!)

Take a closer look in the video below.

Interested in joining us on the Caldecott Medal and Honor Book Reading Challenge? Find out more here.

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