This week read Yonie Wondernose by Marguerite De Angeli, a 1945 Caldecott Honor Book. The setting for this wonderful book is on an Amish farm in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Being an avid Amish novel reader, I was immediately excited that this book was about this special group of people.
Yonie is called a “Wondernose” because his curiousity frequently gets him into trouble. When he is left at home with his little sister and grandmother, his father leaves him in charge of the barnyard animals with specific directions for their care. Yonnie cares for the farm with a few distractions along the way. Finally, he falls asleep, but is awakened by a fire in the barn. He and his grandmother save all of the animals, but the bull is injured due to Yonnie wandering away to satisfy his inquisitiveness. Yonnie’s father forgives the boy and shows him how proud he is of his growing son by giving him a piglet and a calf as well as a promise that he will be able to help with the spring plowing.
1. “Excellence of execution in the artistic technique employed.” – This book is full of beautiful illustrations with lots of detail. Some pages have black and white sketches while others are filled in with visually-pleasing colors typical of the Amish culture.
2. “Excellence of pictorial interpretation of story, theme, or concept.” – These pictures make this story easier for young readers to understand.
3. “Appropriateness of style of illustration to the story, theme or concept.”- The illustrator pictured these scenes just as I would imagine an Amish farm. It is a bit surprising that the faces of the characters are illustrated in detail since that goes against Amish religious beliefs.
4. “Delineation of plot, theme, characters, setting, mood or information through the pictures.” – All of these characteristics are very clear through the pictures. I particularly enjoyed the facial expressions on each of the characters, but the father’s look as he hugs his son after the fire is especially touching.
5. “Excellence of presentation in recognition of a child audience.” – My children enjoyed this book and were amazed that a young boy could be responsible for so much on a farm.