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Sing in Praise – 1947 Caldecott Honor Book

Sing in PraiseSing in Praise, a collection of 25 hymns and accompanying stories written by Opal Wheeler and illustrated by Marjorie Torrey, received a Caldecott Honor award in 1947.  This lesser-known book was difficult to find, even with interlibrary loan services.  Each story is in some way related to the writing of the hymn, its author, or the meaning of the words.

Caldecott Criteria:

1. “Excellence of execution in the artistic technique employed.” – These lovely, old-fashioned pictures, some in watercolors and some pencil sketches, have clear lines and a relaxing quality.

2. “Excellence of pictorial interpretation of story, theme, or concept.” – Each hymn has its own illustration relating in some way to the theme of the song.

3. “Appropriateness of style of illustration to the story, theme or concept.”–  These old-fashioned illustrations this seem appropriate, as all of these beloved Christian songs have been sung by congregations for over a century.

4. “Delineation of plot, theme, characters, setting, mood or information through the pictures.” – There is no ongoing plot, but the theme of each hymn does relate in some way to each picture.

5. “Excellence of presentation in recognition of a child audience.” – While these are lovely pictures, I believe that modern-day children may find many of them difficult to relate to in the world with which they are familiar.

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Bonny’s Big Day by James Herriot

Bonny’s Big Day by James Herriot colorfully tells the story of a work horse who has long been retired and left to graze in a pasture.  When the veterinarian-author visits the farm, he suggests to the disheveled owner that he enter the well-loved horse into the pet show at an upcoming fair.  The older man resists, insisting that the large animal is not a pet, but shows up at the event with the amazing horse well-groomed and decorated.  After being judged against many smaller, adorable animals, the magnificent horse is awarded first prize then returned to her grassy home to live out her days.

Pros:  A gentle-reading story that can help children to see that people and animals may be diamonds in the rough.

Cons: If you don’t have and don’t want a pet, I wouldn’t read this book to a child, as this book will encourage them to desire an animal to love.

Age Range: 3-8

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Filed under Recommended Reads