“Chanticleer and the Fox”, an adaptation from The Canterbury Tales, and illustrated by Barbara Cooney, received the 1959 Caldecott Medal. This charming book reminded my children of some of the many Aesop’s Fables that they have heard. I particularly enjoyed that the wit and wisdom of the story’s rooster triumphed over the sly fox.
- “Excellence of execution in the artistic technique employed.” – Pictures in primarily black and white with occasional accents in red, green, blue, yellow, and brown allow for eye-catching illustrations. Extensive details are evident, my favorite of which are the thatching on the roof and the bee hives in one scene.
- “Excellence of pictorial interpretation of story, theme, or concept.” – The story can be followed easily through the pictures.
- “Appropriateness of style of illustration to the story, theme or concept.”– The illustrative style used in this book elicits the “Old World” setting of Chaucer and the prototypical Aesop-like fable.
- “Delineation of plot, theme, characters, setting, mood or information through the pictures.” – The plot, characters, setting, and information are very clear throughout the book.
- “Excellence of presentation in recognition of a child audience.”– My children enjoyed this book, but I believe it was more for the charm of the story than for the pictures. Details in the illustrations, however, could be used to discuss many aspects of farm life.
Flossie and the Fox by Patricia C. McKissack relates the story of a little girl who tricks a sly fox so that she can safely deliver eggs across a forest. After being sent away with the load of eggs by her grandmother who warns her about the fox, Flossie encounters the wily creature. In order to avoid his tricks, the girl says she refuses to believe that he is a fox. As she makes her way through the woods, she insists instead that the fox must be a rabbit, a cat, and a squirrel based on the characteristics that the fox points out. Just as he points out that he has sharp teeth and can run fast and THAT must mean he is a fox, Flossie reaches the end of her journey, and dogs chase off the befuddled animal. On the last page, the reader learns that Flossie knows the true identity of the fox all along, but her game has allowed her to outsmart the animal and safely deliver her grandmother’s farm goods.
Pros: A fun book to teach using reasoning and sequential thinking.
Cons: While I liked the use of African American language typical of the Southern United States, it did bother me that its use was not consistent.
Age Range: 3-8
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