April’s Kittens – 1940 Caldecott Honor Book

I am quite surprised that April’s Kittens by Clare Turlay Newberry achieved the status of a Caldecott Honor Book.  While I really enjoyed the story, the pictures were not what I would consider worthy of this award. 

In this book April’s cat has three kittens.  Since her family lives in a small apartment in New  York City, her father says she can only keep one cat.  She loves all of the cats, but is faced with giving away the adult cat in order to keep her favorite kitten.  Finally, April’s parents decide it is time to move into a larger home,as the family has outgrown their current accommodations.  This move will allow April to keep both her cat and her very favorite kitten.

 Caldecott Criteria:

1. “Excellence of execution in the artistic technique employed.” – While I was not impressed with the artwork as a whole, the faces and expressions of the kittens were very life-like.

2. “Excellence of pictorial interpretation of story, theme, or concept.” – I felt that much more could have been done artistically to enhance the storyline.3.“Appropriateness of style of illustration to the story, theme or concept.” – The love that Aprilfelt for her kittens is well-portrayed visually, so much more that is explained in the story is missing in the illustrations.4.“Delineation of plot, theme, characters, setting, mood or information through the pictures.” – April is only seen twice in the book, a little boy who is a minor character gets an entire page, and the rest of the illustrations are of the cats.  I would have liked to see April’s parents and her surroundings, too.  The simplicity of April’s life is evident.  The changes in mood throughout the story are not as obvious as they could be.

5.“Excellence of presentation in recognition of a child audience.” – While my girls liked this story, I found them zoning out visually and not even looking at the pictures.


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Filed under Caldecott Medal Winners, Recommended Reads

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