Saturday, April 21, 2012

Caldecott Challenge - 1951

I am really enjoying the fact that the award books are getting easier to find and that I am more able to pull all the award books for one year together at the same time. 

1951 Caldecott Award

The Egg Tree 

by Katherine Milhous

This was my first read of The Egg Tree, and it happened to be right around Easter, a holiday I celebrate with my family. Cupcake and I read this together, and she enjoyed the story of hunting eggs, something we had just done together. It's not quite as long as some of the early award books, but it's still a little on the long side. The illustrations are soft and muted - they fit well with the story, but don't grab me as much as some of the others from this same year.

1951 Caldecott Honor Books

Dick Whittington and his Cat 

by Marcia Brown

The story didn't really pull me in, but the linoleum cuts make me want to carve some of my own.

The Two Reds 
written by William Lipkind

illustrated by Nicholas Mordvinoff

Reading the first few pages of this book, I thought I had found a new favorite - bright, bold illustrations with a "text-lite" story about a boy and a cat. I was supremely bummed when I turned a page and started reading about the "Seventh Street Signal Senders", a gang of young white boys who dress and act as stereotyped Native Americans. ~sigh~
If I could just choose half a book as the 1951 award winner, I would have chosen the first half of The Two Reds. I'm totally in love with the full page illustration of the red cat on a yellow background.

If I Ran the Zoo 

by Dr. Seuss

I love what Dr. Seuss did for children's books. If I Ran the Zoo is full of classic Seuss rhymes and odd-ball animals. His books are all about having fun reading, but it is still the early 1950s and unfortunately he too includes inappropriate racial stereotypes (see the end of the post).

T-Bone, the Baby Sitter 

by Clare Turlay Newberry

Clare Turlay Newberry's depictions of fluffy animals are truly wonderful. I want to heft T-Bone into my arms and give him a squeeze. I love that the models for this book were her own son and her cat named T-Bone (so named for stealing a steak!).

The Most Wonderful Doll in the World

written by Phyllis McGinley

illustrated by Helen Stone

The main character in this book is bratty and constantly exaggerating about a doll she lost, but somehow I found her endearing. This feels very much like an early chapter book with it's smaller size and limited illustrations.

3 Awesome Cats.

Dick Whittington's Cat

Mr Furpatto Purrcatto
otherwise known as "Red"


2 Unfortunate stereotypes.

"Seventh Street Signal Senders"

"helpers who all wear their eyes at a slant"

1 more year of the Caldecott Challenge read.

Total read for the challenge: 68

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


  1. Wonderful post. I've never been able to find T-Bone (but I'm fond of most of C T Newberry's books) or The Two Reds even though Nicolas Mordvinoff is one of my favorite mid-century illustrators. It is unfortunate that in a lot of the early Caldecott and Newbery award/honor books there are stereotypes that are not acceptable by today's standards. That can, however be turned into a lesson for children in and of itself.

    1. I totally agree - the books can be great examples for a lesson.
      I love really the illustrations in The Two Reds - the composition and use of color is brilliant, it just hurts my heart a little that I can't fully dive in and swim around in my love for it because of the kids playing "indian" and appropriating the culture of real people and turning it into a costume. Sigh.

      I am lucky to live near a library with an almost complete collection of Caldecott Award books. I am struggling though to find 1952's Honor book Feather Mountain.