Monthly Archives: July 2012

The Rooster Crows – 1946 Caldecott Medal Book

The Rooster Crows –1946 Caldecott Medal Book
The Rooster Crows by Maud and Miska Petersham retells many familiar American rhymes and jingles.  Many I had heard before, but some were not so familiar to me.  The vintage illustrations are colorful and detailed, depicting the storylines accurately.  Although we enjoyed this book, I would suggest reading it in smaller bits.  After a while, my kids asked for a different story, but they did enjoy hearing moreat a later time.

Caldecott Criteria:
1. “Excellence of execution in the artistic technique employed.” –Beautiful artwork typical for the time period,with bright colors and details.
2. “Excellence of pictorial interpretation of story, theme, or concept.” – Yes, these timeless rhymes and jingles deserve the old-fashioned painting-type illustrations this book affords.  (I like this sentence!)
3. “Appropriateness of style of illustration to the story, theme or concept.” – Yes – perfect for this type of book.
4. “Delineation of plot, theme, characters, setting, mood or information through the pictures.” – Yes, each jingle has its own illustration that depicts well the story.  (Seems like you would want to be consistent with  the punctuation.)
5. “Excellence of presentation in recognition of a child audience.” – The picctures are very appealing for children and adults alike.
Age Range: 1-8
4 of 5

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Andy and the Lion by James Daugherty

Andy and the Lion –1939 Caldecott Honor Book
Andy and the Lion by James Daugherty tells the story of a little boy who visits the library to find a book about lions.  He reads about lions all day long, his grandfather tells tall tales about lions in the evening, andthen Andy dreams about lions through the night.  Thanks to his prodigious imagination, Andy is able to help a lion he meets on his way to school, then visit again with the lion at the circus and in a parade.  The black and white illustrations highlighted in copper tones are very numerous in comparison to the number of words in the story, successfully engaging the attention of even young readers through thelong story.  My only complaint with this book was that page turns happen frequently in the middle of a sentence, which made the reading feel choppy to me, but kept the story moving.

Caldecott Criteria:
1. “Excellence of execution in the artistic technique employed.” – The detailed black and copper-toned line drawings are engaging for all audiences.
2. “Excellence of pictorial interpretation of story, theme, or concept.” – Yes, the pictures help the story come alive.
3. “Appropriateness of style of illustration to the story, theme or concept.” – Once can see through the pictures what is in Andy’s imagination.
4. “Delineation of plot, theme, characters, setting, mood or information through the pictures.” – Yes,the book satisfied all of these checkpoints very well.  I particularly enjoyed the emotions expressed on the faces of the lion and thepeople in the story.
5. “Excellence of presentation in recognition of a child audience.” – My children did enjoy the illustrations and story, and they laughed right along with me as we read together.
Age Range: 2-10
5 of 5

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Caldecott Medal Book Award – 1943 – The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton

Caldecott Medal Book 1943 –  I consider The Little House written and illustrated by Virginia Lee Burton to be a true classic book for its story as well as the pictures.  The Little House, built on a hill far from any town before cars were invented, enjoys the surroundings of trees and flowers, seasons changing, and the night sky.  As the city grows closer and eventually surrounds the little house, all of these pleasures are blocked from view.  The house, once beautiful, becomes run down and tired.  Finally, a relative of the house’s builder recognizes the house and has it moved to a new hill amongst trees and flowers, changing seasons, and the night sky.  The little house is very happy to be lived in and taken care of once again.  The illustrations superbly depict the storyline as the reader is shown, with each page, more and more growing up around the house and the house beginning to get lost among the other things.  The house starts out colorful, slowly looses its color, and then is returned to its original vibrance.  I especially enjoy the pictures depicting the house in each season.

Caldecott Criteria:

1. “Excellence of execution in the artistic technique employed.” – The folk art-type pictures remind me of a Grandma Moses picture.
2. “Excellence of pictorial interpretation of story, theme, or concept.” – Wonderful!  Even without the words in this book, the story could be understood well.
3. “Appropriateness of style of illustration to the story, theme or concept.” – Yes – a somewhat country feel pervades the pictures.
4. “Delineation of plot, theme, characters, setting, mood or information through the pictures.” – Yes, easily understood through the pictures themselves.
5. “Excellence of presentation in recognition of a child audience.” – These pictures are colorful and very interesting to look at, but certainly simple enough for children to understand.

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Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin, Jr.

SummaryBrown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, written by Bill Martin, Jr. and illustrated by Eric Carle, uses colorful, simple illustrations to teach colors effectively to young children.  The large pictures look as if they could have been created with torn pieces of construction paper and other simple art materials.  My 2-year old son easily started repeating the colors to me and loved looking at the different animals.

Pros:  A fun method to reinforce learning colors.  Eye-catching illustrations.

Cons:  The blue horse and purple cat may be a bit confusing for children.  In some lights the red bird looks more pinkish, so could cause some confusion as well.

Age Range: Newborn to 7

3 of 5

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All the Places to Love by Patricia MacLachlan

Summary:  In All the Places to Love by Patricia MacLachlan, a boy nostagically connects his years with the places that he and his family loved to go.  I found this book irresistible, as much for its richly detailed paintings by Mike Wimmeras for its slightly emotional story which pulls at the heartstrings on many levels.  I felt as if I could walk right into each of the illustrations and feel at home.  My children loved the book and seemed captivated by the art work as well.

Pros: Lovely illustrations and a story that will bring back childhood memories for all.

Cons: “All the Places to Love” are clearly on this family’s farm, but I hope that my children can find places to love wherever God takes them throughout their lives.

Age Range: 2-8

4 of 5

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Bear Feels Scared by Karma Wilson

Summary:  Bear Feels Scared written by Karma Wilson and illustrated by Jane Chapman can soothe and calm many childhood fears.  Bear is walking through a forest when he starts to feel scared as he realizes he is all alone and hears noises that are unfamiliar.  When he finds his friends, he is reassured, feels safe, and is able to calmly sleep.

Pros:  Once again, I love Jane Chapman’s illustrations and her pointed use of light.  A funway to teach children that when they are scared, they are not alone.  This might also be a good conversation starter with preschoolers about self-calming techniques.

Cons: Hopefully it would not introduce new fears in children that don’t usually experience being scared.

Age Range: 2-7

4 of 5

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The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle

Summary:  Books by Eric Carle are sure to please children and parents alike.  The simple stories and colorful illustrations make for a book that will be read over and over.  The Very Busy Spider tells the story of a spider who is so busy spinning her web that she doesn’t even answer when her friends invite her to do things with them.  In the end she gets the treat she has been working toward. 

Pros:  I love that children can actually feel the structure of the web thanks to raised lines on the paper.  Another great book for reviewing animal sounds. 

Cons:  It was a bit disconcerting to me that the spider never even acknowledged her friends. 

Age Range: 1-6

4 or 5

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