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.
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.