Small Rain – 1944 Caldecott Honor Book

Small Rain, a 1944 Caldecott Honor Book, is simply a collection of Bible passages chosen by Jessie Orton Jones.  At first, I found it a bit frustrating not to have the corresponding references, but then realized that they are available on the last page. The title, Small Rain, left me confused as I did not find any reference to rain throughout the book, untilmy husband remembered a verse referring to rain.  Sure enough, at the end of the book there appears a verse about rain:Deuteronomy 32:2 (My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass.)

Caldecott Criteria:

1.     “Excellence of execution in the artistic technique employed.”  Probably not the most technically difficult artwork, but it is agreat collection of pencil drawings using only black, white, and light yellow.

2. “Excellence of pictorial interpretation of story, theme, or concept.” – Each verse was well-illustrated with touching pictures of children in settings or scenes depicting the content of the passage in a child’s world.

3. “Appropriateness of style of illustration to the story, theme or concept.” – For the time this book was written, yes, this style was excellent to portray the story.  In modern times I would prefer more color, but these pictures are still touching.

4. “Delineation of plot, theme, characters, setting, mood or information through the pictures.” – No obvious plot, theme, or specific characters are evident, but the mood depicted is clearly a sense of awe and wonderment atGod’s Creation.  My favorite scene is of 3 children resting beside a pond with sheep on the opposite bank, which corresponds to the well-loved chapter Psalm 23.

5. “Excellence of presentation in recognition of a child audience.” – My children did enjoy this book, but probably would have had a longer attention span with more color.

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