Pierre Pidgeon by Lee Kingman with pictures by Arnold Edwin Bare, recipient of a 1944 Caldecott Honor Book award, tells the story of a little boy who lives by the sea and is intrigued by building model ships. He sees a ship in a bottle in town, but does not have enough money to buy the fascinating item. Soon he meets an artist by the sea who paints his picture while he keeps her safe from a bull and is paid in return. He quickly purchases the ship in a bottle, but it is broken in an accident, making his entire family very sad. When his father offers him an empty bottle like the one he had bought he realizes how the ship was originally put into the bottle and is able to recreate this decoration.
1. “Excellence of execution in the artistic technique employed.” – Subtle hues of green, peach, grey and black in tempera medium evoke an Old-World, French look. The figures, especially the ox, are quite different from anything I have seen before in a picture book.
2. “Excellence of pictorial interpretation of story, theme, or concept.” – The pictures do augment the story, but they could not stand alone for this story.
3. “Appropriateness of style of illustration to the story, theme or concept.”- Given the clear explanation of the setting and time for this story, the illustration style is very appropriate for the story.
4. “Delineation of plot, theme, characters, setting, mood or information through the pictures.” – All of these characteristics are well-met except for the mood. There are many missed opportunities for the pictorial expression of happiness and sadness.
5. “Excellence of presentation in recognition of a child audience.” – My girls did enjoy this story, but I think that in a couple of years I will check this book out again to read to my son. This would make a great book for a father to read to his little boy.