Monday, January 30, 2012

Whew! First Decade Down

Caldecott Challenge Total so far: 56 Caldecotts Read (not counting those I read before starting the challenge).

At this point I have read all the Award Winners and Honor books through the first decade of the award to the end of the 1940s.

I have to say, I am a little tired of picture book pages that look like this:

and this:

and this:

At times it is hard to believe that these picture books won the same award that these did on January 23.

I sorted through my goodreads shelf of Caldecott Challenge titles by rating to see what floated to the top from these early winners, and there were three clear favorites for me:

The Little House

Caldecott Medal (1943)

I remember my elementary school librarian reading this one.
I love the facial expressions on the house, and how the text is not in plain blocks, but more free form on the pages. I also love that it is a circle story with big circles on the front and back cover.

Make Way for Ducklings

I love the sweet realistic ducks, and the list of rhyming baby duck names always makes me smile.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Caldecott Honor (1939)

Ok, this one does have a lot of text, but I am a huge fan of Wanda Gág and fairy tales.

I love her quirky sense of humor. 
Her pen and ink drawings always pull me in. 
AND she is from Minnesota!

I was really excited to find out that the University of Minnesota Press has reprinted this book and a few other collected tales from Grimm.

My small Wanda Gag Print

What are your favorite Caldecott winner and honor books?
Have you posted about the Caldecott Challenge, link up below.

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

Friday, January 27, 2012

Sing Mother Goose & Sing in Praise

I have been surprised by the amount of music in the early Caldecott winner and honor books. There have been many stories that include a song or two as part of the book, like... Juanita by Caldecott Honor 1949)

However Sing Mother Goose (Caldecott honor 1946) and Songs of Praise (Caldecott honor 1947) both by Opal Wheeler and illustrated by Marjorie Torrey don't have just one or two songs - they are illustrated collections of music.
See the video below for a closer look.

 For me the strength of the illustrations in these two books is the color palette and the rich feel on the full color pages. 

On Wednesday nights we head over to my In-Laws' for Family Dinner Night. Cupcake likes to sing at the piano with grandma. Her favorite song is "One Foot Other Foot" from the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical "Allegro" - mostly because it has a baby in the illustrations on that page, but she was ok with trying a few selections from Sing Mother Goose this past Wednesday.
(Sorry for the sound quality - I like to record "stress-free" style using my phone.)

After Cupcake lost interest and went to find out what the older cousins were up to downstairs (Wii Resort Sports, just in case you were wondering about the background noise in the video above), my Mother-In-Law played a piece from Songs of Praise.  
Notice the much more interesting looking "Songs We Sing", a collection of show tunes by Rodgers and Hammerstein from 1957.

Another plug for my awesome Mother-In-Law who is a fabulous person and blogs at HomesMSP about real estate and the Minneapolis/St Paul area.

Each Wednesday in a feature called Wednesdays Unplugged she posts about our family and a recipe from our weekly family dinner night.

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

Sunday, January 22, 2012

I'm a Chair!

A dream I have been working toward (for what feels like a long time now) came true yesterday when the executive board of the Minnesota Youth Reading Awards voted to start a new Children's Choice Picture Book Award.

For the past 30 years, MN has had a wonderful Children's Choice award for Novels - the Maud Hart Lovelace Award, but not one for picture books.

The following order of business at the meeting was to vote me in as the chair of this new award!
I still want to squeal a little bit each time I think about it.

I am thrilled and honored to be leading the creating and shaping of this new award for Minnesota.

This next year will be a lot of work behind the scenes with nominees announced for participants in April of 2013.

Would YOU like to be a part of this new Minnesota award?
Over the next few months we will be looking for Representatives from around the state who would like to provide input on the potential nominees. If this sounds right up your alley, click here.

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.