The Ageless Story – 1938 Caldecott Honor Book

1938 Caldecott Honor Book

I thought Caldecott books should be timeless classics that could be enjoyed by children of all generations, but this book definitely does not fit “timeless” or “classic.”  The Ageless Story by Lauren Ford begins with a retelling of the legend of Saint Anne, who was supposedly the virgin mother of Mary, followed by a Biblical-like account of the birth of Jesus all within 4 pages of very small print.  The majority of the pages in this book are filled with brief songs in Latin written out in ancient musical manuscript, with artwork that follows the story on the previous pages.  All in all, I found this book to be very confusing and not child-friendly.  No wonder my library did not have this book available!

 Caldecott Criteria:

1. “Excellence of execution in the artistic technique employed.” – For Renaissance-type artwork, it has a somewhat lovely quality.

2. “Excellence of pictorial interpretation of story, theme, or concept.” – Yes, the artwork tells the story, but not in a way I would consider accurate.

3. “Appropriateness of style of illustration to the story, theme or concept.” – The style is what I would expect to find in an older Roman Catholic church or another congregation whose services are in Latin.  I cannot imagine that the characters in the Biblical narrative would have lived in country homes reminiscent of the style of the early 1900’s, complete with wrap-around porches and green window shutters, these characters having  halos hovering over their heads for all to see.

4. “Delineation of plot, theme, characters, setting, mood or information through the pictures.” – The characters are so disturbingly pictured to me, and the setting so anachronistic, that I cannot even mentally process these other aspects of the book.

5.“Excellence of presentation in recognition of a child audience.” – I did not even try to read this book to my children.  Since it slightly disturbed me, I did not want to share these feelings with my children and risk alienating them from a very precious story in the Bible.

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