Barkis – 1939 Caldecott Honor Book

Barkis by Clare Turlay Newberry – 1939 Caldecott Honor Book

Barkis, an adorable cocker spaniel, is welcomed by a little boy, James, on his 9th birthday.  James and his sister Nell Jean disagree about who Barkis belongs to as well as who is the owner of the cat, Edward.  Only after Nell Jean saves Barkis from drowning in a creek does James agree to share Barkis.  He is rewarded by Nell Jean’s offer to share her cat as well.  Although I liked this book overall, I was disappointed that so much of the book was focused on the disagreement between the siblings.  Even though the final outcome is a resolution, my children do not need any encouragement to have petty disagreements!

Caldecott Criteria:
1. “Excellence of execution in the artistic technique employed.” – The grey/black/brown illustrations are less detailed than I would prefer, but still I could easily recognize the cocker spaniel.
2. “Excellence of pictorial interpretation of story, theme, or concept.” – With very simple illustrations, each character is pictured at least once, but the action in the story is evident.
3. “Appropriateness of style of illustration to the story, theme or concept.” – Very simplistic illustrations, but I would like to have seen more background or action.
4. “Delineation of plot, theme, characters, setting, mood or information through the pictures.” – Although the pictures portray the characters well,are portrayed well, the illustrations convey very little of the plot, theme, setting, mood, or other information.
5. “Excellence of presentation in recognition of a child audience.” – My oldest daughter loves animals and would like to have a dog, so she enjoyed looking at the pictures of this adorable puppy.

Age Range: 3-10

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