Dash and Dart, a 1943 Caldecott Honor Book by Mary and Conrad Buff, takes the reader on a year-long journey through the first year of life with two young deer. Throughout the book we are introduced to the mother doe, see the fawns taking their first steps, watch them learn about the dangers of the forest, and finally see them as grown deer. The book is broken up into chapters, but these do not seem consistent in length or topic. We did enjoy this book, but it could easily become tedious for younger audiences.
1. “Excellence of execution in the artistic technique employed.” While not the most impressive artwork, the illustrations are beautiful, brown pencil drawings.
2. “Excellence of pictorial interpretation of story, theme, or concept.” – The many pictures of deer and other forest animals help the reader visualize the words being read.
3. “Appropriateness of style of illustration to the story, theme or concept.” – The simple, thin pencil lines are very effective for this story.
4. “Delineation of plot, theme, characters, setting, mood or information through the pictures.” – The characters and some settings are evident through the illustrations, but the mood, especially, could be more visually clear.
5. “Excellence of presentation in recognition of a child audience.” – My 5-year old enjoyed this book, but my younger children quickly became bored. More color may have engaged their attention better.