Tag Archives: animals

The Little Island – 1947 Caldecott Medal Book

The Little IslandThe 1947 Caldecott Medal Book, The Little Island by Golden MacDonald and Leonard Weisgard, is a well-known children’s classic.  This book tells what this small island experiences through each season, each time of day, and in different types of weather.  Animals and plants that inhabit the island play large roles in the story.  In the middle of the book, though, a boat visits the island, leaving a kitten behind.  Although I have not had much experience with pleasure-boating, I do not think I would take my cat along on such a trip.  Also, then, the cat and the island have a conversation discussing if the island is really a part of the world.  While I really enjoy the beginning and end of this book, the middle does seem very peculiar and out of place in the overall story.

 

Caldecott Criteria:

1. “Excellence of execution in the artistic technique employed.” – The water color illustrations depict life on a beach beautifully.  Since the author was from the coast of Maine, that is the locale she and the illustrator had in mind when this book was written, and that is exactly where these seaside scenes look like.

2. “Excellence of pictorial interpretation of story, theme, or concept.” – The pictures do a great job of following the storyline.

3. “Appropriateness of style of illustration to the story, theme or concept.”-  The greens, blues, and browns make these illustrations perfect for this ocean-themed book.

4. “Delineation of plot, theme, characters, setting, mood or information through the pictures.” – The setting and theme are very clear, but the plot and characters seem less evident.

5. “Excellence of presentation in recognition of a child audience.” – My children like this book and particularly enjoy learning more about sea life that we do not get opportunities to see in western Kansas.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Caldecott Medal Winners

Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown

Big Red Barn

I grew up reading books by Margaret Wise Brown, but I was not familiar with her book, Big Red Barn.  This book seems a bit different from many of her others because the illustrator, Felicia Bond, is not someone she collaborated with much in her writings.  Being a simple review of barnyard animals and their sounds, along with other items common to a farm, Big Red Barn easily won the attention of all of my children.  The rhymes that slip easily off the tongue, as well as the farm day’s progression from morning to night offer opportunities to teach preschoolers.

Pros: A fun, easy-to-read book ripe with topics for learning, this book is a great preschool read-aloud book.

Cons: None.

Age Range: Infant – 6

Leave a comment

Filed under Recommended Reads

“Uh-Oh!” Said the Crow by Joanne Oppenheim

“Uh-Oh!” Said the Crow by Joanne Oppenheim takes a different spin on the typical barnyard story when the animals hear a loud sound.  Each animal has a different response to what they are hearing that corresponds to their own sounds.  In the end the animals find that apples from the tree by the barn are hitting the roof, and they are relieved that, instead of being afraid, they can now enjoy this tasty treat.

Pros: A fun review of animal sounds that will also teach about onomatopoeia.  This book may also help children with critical thinking as the animals figure out the source of the sound.

Cons: It may be a bit difficult for younger children and those who do not read expressively to catch the onomatopoeias.

Age Range: 2-7

4 of 5

Leave a comment

Filed under Caldecott Medal Winners, Recommended Reads

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Recommended Reads

Animals of the Bible by Dorothy P. Lathrop – 1937 Caldecott Medal

Animals of the Bible by Dorothy P. Lathrop – 1937 Caldecott Medal

Animals of the Bible received the first Caldecott Medal award.  The text is simply Scripture passages involving animals out of the Old King James version.  While I enjoy reading these verses and thinking about them from the perspective of the animals involved, the illustrations do not accurately depict some of text.  After looking through this book, I chose to not read this book to my children because I do not want them to be confused with the memory of these lovely pictures and the true descriptions in the words.  For instance, the awe-inspiring drawing of a hippopotamus with the passage out of Job which describes a creature with a large tail is misleading.  The black and white, line and stippling illustrations are lovely, but I would suggest that parents carefully choose which of these stories to read to their children from this book.

Caldecott Criteria:
1. “Excellence of execution in the artistic technique employed.” – The black and white, line and stippling illustrations are detailed and majestic.
2. “Excellence of pictorial interpretation of story, theme, or concept.” – Some of the pictures accurately depict the stories, but others do not.
3. “Appropriateness of style of illustration to the story, theme or concept.” – The illustrations do seem to fit the wording in the Old King James version of the Bible.
4. “Delineation of plot, theme, characters, setting, mood or information through the pictures.” – Really no plot or mood, but the settings are well portrayed.  Some characters and information are unclear and unfaithful to the text.
5. “Excellence of presentation in recognition of a child audience.” – Due to a lack of color and objects being a smaller size, many of the illustrations are probably not effective for children today.
Age Range: 3-10
2 of 5

Leave a comment

Filed under Caldecott Medal Winners

The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle

Summary:  Books by Eric Carle are sure to please children and parents alike.  The simple stories and colorful illustrations make for a book that will be read over and over.  The Very Busy Spider tells the story of a spider who is so busy spinning her web that she doesn’t even answer when her friends invite her to do things with them.  In the end she gets the treat she has been working toward. 

Pros:  I love that children can actually feel the structure of the web thanks to raised lines on the paper.  Another great book for reviewing animal sounds. 

Cons:  It was a bit disconcerting to me that the spider never even acknowledged her friends. 

Age Range: 1-6

4 or 5

Leave a comment

Filed under Recommended Reads