Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Caldecott Challenge 1962

1962 Medal Winner: 
Once a Mouse 
retold and illustrated by Marcia Brown

What it's about: A magical hermit saves the life of a mouse, and continues to turn it into a larger and larger animal.

What I like:
I love woodcuts as an art form, and Marcia Brown does an amazing job conveying emotion with the faces and body language of her characters through very chunky style woodcut illustrations.

1962 Honor Books:
Fox Went out on a Chilly Night: An Old Song 
by Peter Spier 

What it's about: Fox indeed goes out on a chilly night, and steals a duck and a goose from a farm to feed his family.

What I like:
This was a title that was not readily available from my library system. I had to make a visit to a special permanent collection. I'm glad I made the trip. Spier's pictures are so detailed. They are like a snapshot in time of life in the late 1800s. I love thinking about the research he must have done to accurately draw all the period farming equipment. And I found myself fascinated by an adjustable candle stand he drew in the farm house.

Little Bear's Visit
illustrated by Maurice Sendak
written by Else H. Minarik

What it's about: Little Bear visits his grandparents house where both his grandmother and grandfather tell him a story.

What I like:
I love this volume of Little Bear! I love the grandparents, and I love the storytelling. There is the sheer wonder of hearing a story about one of your own parents when they were young when Grandmother Bear tells Little Bear the story of his own mother and a robin. Also the illustrations are delightful. Sendak captures postures and facial expressions both human and somehow still a bit bear-like in the characters. I always wonder though why it is that little bear is the only one who doesn't wear any clothing. Hmmm.

The Day We Saw the Sun Come Up
illustrated by Adrienne Adams 
written by Alice E. Goudey

What it's about: A brother and sister wake early to see the sunrise and observe the sun and their shadows all day until sunset.

What I like:
If I were teaching a primary science unit on night and day and the rotation of the earth. I would pull out this book. It reads like a story of kids and their curiosity about the world around them, but it also has a great hands on example in the end easily recreated in the classroom using an apple, stick pins and a flashlight to demonstrate the sun and the earth.

Challenge total: 115
More Caldecott Cats
Top row: Once a Mouse
Middle Row: The Day We Saw the Sun Come Up
Bottom left: Fox Went Out on a Chilly Night
Bottom Right: Once a Mouse

Monday, October 1, 2012

Big Bad Ironclad! by Nathan Hale

Big Bad Ironclad!
from Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales
by Nathan Hale

What it's about:
The race between the North and the South during the Civil War to develop an ironclad warship and all the battles along the way.

What I loved:
1. A Lovable cast of narrators (the spy Nathan Hale, the Provost, and the Hangman) who keep popping in to add commentary on the story

2. Clever ways (through both the art and writing) to help the reader keep all the historical characters straight.

3. Action - my young readers will love that Nathan Hale left out all the boring bits!

4. Shout outs to librarians, research and bibliographies

5. Lots of Humor, as well as multiple references to underwater toilets.

This book grabbed me from the first frame with its goofy hangman character who loves Children's Story Hour - all the way to the back matter where author Nathan Hale admits to outsourcing his research for the book to adorable babies.

More information about Big Bad Ironclad!, the Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales series, and the 1828 Election Throwdown Showdown webcomic on Hale's Website: