Tag Archives: cat

Flossie and the Fox by Patricia C. McKissack

flossie and the foxFlossie and the Fox by Patricia C. McKissack relates the story of a little girl who tricks a sly fox so that she can safely deliver eggs across a forest.  After being sent away with the load of eggs by her grandmother who warns her about the fox, Flossie encounters the wily creature.  In order to avoid his tricks, the girl says she refuses to believe that he is a fox.  As she makes her way through the woods, she insists instead that the fox must be a rabbit, a cat, and a squirrel based on the characteristics that the fox points out.  Just as he points out that he has sharp teeth and can run fast and THAT must mean he is a fox, Flossie reaches the end of her journey, and dogs chase off the befuddled animal.  On the last page, the reader learns that Flossie knows the true identity of the fox all along, but her game has allowed her to outsmart the animal and safely deliver her grandmother’s farm goods.

Pros: A fun book to teach using reasoning and sequential thinking.


Cons:  While I liked the use of African American language typical of the Southern United States, it did bother me that 
its use was not consistent.

Age Range: 3-8


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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.

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The Three Pigs – 2002 Caldecott Medal Book

The Three Pigs by David Wiesner , the 2002 Caldecott Medal Book, begins as a retelling of the well-known children’s story about three pigs and a big, bad wolf, but takes a very surprising turn as the wolf blows so hard that the first little pig falls right out of his storybook.  Quickly this pig invites his brothers to join him on his escape and they play with the pages of their book by folding them to avoid the wolf and making a paper airplane to fly.  They accidentally join the nursery rhyme world in “Hey Diddle Diddle,” but escape again to peruse the pages of other stories.  They briefly go into a book about a knight and dragon, leaving with the dragon in hot pursuit.  They find their original story and decide to return to the third pig’s home with the dragon in tow.  As the wolf comes to call he is, of course, very intimidated by the dragon and leaves, allowing them to all live happily ever after.  Although this book is hilarious, it requires a lot of jumping around and understanding stories from a higher level of thought, so this book is probably not appropriate until at least the later preschool years.

Caldecott Criteria:

1. “Excellence of execution in the artistic technique employed.”  This book is full of very creative, colorful artwork with amazing details and shadowing.

2. “Excellence of pictorial interpretation of story, theme, or concept.” – The pictures are what make this book understandable. 

3. “Appropriateness of style of illustration to the story, theme or concept.” – Although the little pigs are not illustrated as I would usually envision them, they fit well with this alternate telling of the story.

4. “Delineation of plot, theme, characters, setting, mood or information through the pictures.” – Again, without the pictures, the plot and settings would be completely lost.  The characters are very clear and I love their various facial expressions.

5. “Excellence of presentation in recognition of a child audience.” – I read this book to my children several months ago and enjoyed it myself, but they did not “get it.”  When I read it to them today I could tell that my oldest daughter understood the sequence of events now and really enjoyed this story.

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April’s Kittens – 1940 Caldecott Honor Book

I am quite surprised that April’s Kittens by Clare Turlay Newberry achieved the status of a Caldecott Honor Book.  While I really enjoyed the story, the pictures were not what I would consider worthy of this award. 

In this book April’s cat has three kittens.  Since her family lives in a small apartment in New  York City, her father says she can only keep one cat.  She loves all of the cats, but is faced with giving away the adult cat in order to keep her favorite kitten.  Finally, April’s parents decide it is time to move into a larger home,as the family has outgrown their current accommodations.  This move will allow April to keep both her cat and her very favorite kitten.

 Caldecott Criteria:

1. “Excellence of execution in the artistic technique employed.” – While I was not impressed with the artwork as a whole, the faces and expressions of the kittens were very life-like.

2. “Excellence of pictorial interpretation of story, theme, or concept.” – I felt that much more could have been done artistically to enhance the storyline.3.“Appropriateness of style of illustration to the story, theme or concept.” – The love that Aprilfelt for her kittens is well-portrayed visually, so much more that is explained in the story is missing in the illustrations.4.“Delineation of plot, theme, characters, setting, mood or information through the pictures.” – April is only seen twice in the book, a little boy who is a minor character gets an entire page, and the rest of the illustrations are of the cats.  I would have liked to see April’s parents and her surroundings, too.  The simplicity of April’s life is evident.  The changes in mood throughout the story are not as obvious as they could be.

5.“Excellence of presentation in recognition of a child audience.” – While my girls liked this story, I found them zoning out visually and not even looking at the pictures.

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Barkis – 1939 Caldecott Honor Book

Barkis by Clare Turlay Newberry – 1939 Caldecott Honor Book

Barkis, an adorable cocker spaniel, is welcomed by a little boy, James, on his 9th birthday.  James and his sister Nell Jean disagree about who Barkis belongs to as well as who is the owner of the cat, Edward.  Only after Nell Jean saves Barkis from drowning in a creek does James agree to share Barkis.  He is rewarded by Nell Jean’s offer to share her cat as well.  Although I liked this book overall, I was disappointed that so much of the book was focused on the disagreement between the siblings.  Even though the final outcome is a resolution, my children do not need any encouragement to have petty disagreements!

Caldecott Criteria:
1. “Excellence of execution in the artistic technique employed.” – The grey/black/brown illustrations are less detailed than I would prefer, but still I could easily recognize the cocker spaniel.
2. “Excellence of pictorial interpretation of story, theme, or concept.” – With very simple illustrations, each character is pictured at least once, but the action in the story is evident.
3. “Appropriateness of style of illustration to the story, theme or concept.” – Very simplistic illustrations, but I would like to have seen more background or action.
4. “Delineation of plot, theme, characters, setting, mood or information through the pictures.” – Although the pictures portray the characters well,are portrayed well, the illustrations convey very little of the plot, theme, setting, mood, or other information.
5. “Excellence of presentation in recognition of a child audience.” – My oldest daughter loves animals and would like to have a dog, so she enjoyed looking at the pictures of this adorable puppy.

Age Range: 3-10

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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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