Tag Archives: bear

Blueberries for Sal – 1949 Caldecott Honor Book

Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey, a 1949 Caldecott Honor Book, sweetly tells the story of a little girl and her mother who take a trip to pick blueberries.  As they are busy picking and lost in their own thoughts, they meet a mother bear and her cub grazing on the same hill’s delicious berries.
Caldecott Criteria:
1. “Excellence of execution in the artistic technique employed.” – Amazing, single-tone­ drawings with so many details that the reader could spend a long time looking at each picture, but simple enough that a very young child could enjoy each scene.  (This is not a complete sentence – do you want to have all complete sentences for consistency?  How about:  The amazing, single-tone­ drawings abound with so many details that the reader could spend a long time looking at each picture, yet the illustrations are simple enough for even a very young child’s being able enjoy each scene.)
2. “Excellence of pictorial interpretation of story, theme, or concept.” – The story is easy to understand through the pictures.  I find it fun that the line drawings are all in a dark blue exactly the color of ripe, juicy blueberries.
3. “Appropriateness of style of illustration to the story, theme or concept.” – The post-World War II car, 1940’s clothing, and the discussion of canning blueberries lend an old-fashioned feel to the story.  On top of this, the characters’ facial expressions clearly depict the love and concern of a mother for her child, as well as the curiosity of a young child.
4. “Delineation of plot, theme, characters, setting, mood or information through the pictures.” – Each of these aspects of the story are obvious in the pictures, but the mood and characters are my favorite parts of this book.
5. “Excellence of presentation in recognition of a child audience.” – My children have enjoyed this book over and over via audio book, as well as in the written format.
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The Biggest Bear – 1953 Caldecott Medal Book

The Biggest Bear by Lund Ward, a 1953 Caldecott Medal Book, tells the story of a young boy who is ashamed that, of all of the families in his community, his is the only one who has not killed a bear and displayed its pelt.  He goes into the woods to shoot a bear himself, but returns with a bear cub which he decides to raise.  As the bear grows, it becomes a pest to the neighbors as it gets into the food they have stored, so they decide the bear must be taken away.  Three times the boy takes the bear far away, but each time the bear returns home.  Finally, the boy takes the bear yet another direction with plans to shoot him.  As they get deep into the woods, the bear takes off running with the boy holding tightly onto a rope around the bear’s neck.  They end up trapped together until a group of men from the zoo free them.  They explain that they have been looking for a bear to take to the zoo and that this bear is an even bigger specimen than they had expected to capture.  The boy is happy that the bear will be cared for and that he will be able to visit him.

Caldecott Criteria:

1. “Excellence of execution in the artistic technique employed.” – Detailed pencil drawings seem so life-like that readers may feel as if they could jump into the picture.

2. “Excellence of pictorial interpretation of story, theme, or concept.” – Each picture clearly illustrates the storyline.

3. “Appropriateness of style of illustration to the story, theme or concept.” – Every page stays well within the style that could be imagined of a backwoods mountain community, especially within the mind of a young boy.

4. “Delineation of plot, theme, characters, setting, mood or information through the pictures.” – All of these criteria are well represented in the pictures, but the mood throughout the story is exceptionally illustrated through the emotions expressed on the faces each of the characters, including the bear.

5. “Excellence of presentation in recognition of a child audience.” – We all have enjoyed this book a few times, always experiencing vicariously the excitement, sadness, and relief of the boy as well as the curiosity, confusion, and satisfaction of the bear.

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Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin, Jr.

SummaryBrown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, written by Bill Martin, Jr. and illustrated by Eric Carle, uses colorful, simple illustrations to teach colors effectively to young children.  The large pictures look as if they could have been created with torn pieces of construction paper and other simple art materials.  My 2-year old son easily started repeating the colors to me and loved looking at the different animals.

Pros:  A fun method to reinforce learning colors.  Eye-catching illustrations.

Cons:  The blue horse and purple cat may be a bit confusing for children.  In some lights the red bird looks more pinkish, so could cause some confusion as well.

Age Range: Newborn to 7

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