A Child’s Good Night Book – 1944 Caldecott Honor Book

A Child’s Good Night Book by Margaret Wise Brown is a very simple book.  In this 1944 Caldecott Honor book the sentence, “Everything is going to sleep” pretty much sums up the entire story.  Mostly animals are shown sleeping, but one page in the middle of the book illustrates boats, cars, and trucks being quiet at night.  As a bedtime story I found this book disappointing and have found several better books for this purpose.

Caldecott Criteria:

1. “Excellence of execution in the artistic technique employed.”  I do not consider these chalk drawings with a charcoal overlay to be excellent artwork.  Many of the animals are barely recognizable and all of the characters lack any expression.

2. “Excellence of pictorial interpretation of story, theme, or concept.” – The story is described well through the pictures, if one can make out what is pictured.

3. “Appropriateness of style of illustration to the story, theme or concept.” – The charcoal overlay does make an effort to help each illustration appear to take place at nighttime, but makes each picture even less recognizable.

4. “Delineation of plot, theme, characters, setting, mood or information through the pictures.” – The theme of sleeping is very clear, but otherwise these characteristics are vague.

5. “Excellence of presentation in recognition of a child audience.” – My 5-year old could recognize the characters in each illustration, but my 4-year old with vision impairment gave up and lost interest quickly.

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