Tag Archives: Margaret Wise Brown

Little Lost Lamb – 1945 Caldecott Book

Little Lost Lamb by Golden MacDonald (an pen name for Margaret Wise Brown) and illustrated by Leonard Weisgard received a Caldecott Honor in 1945.  The storyline, easy to guess from the title, follows a young shepherd and his flock high into the mountains, where a black lamb wanders away from the flock.  As night falls, the boy tries to find the lost creature, but he must also take the other sheep to safety.  Unable to sleep, he sets out in the darkness to find the young lamb.  Before he finds his charge, his dog chases away a crouching mountain lion.  Finally, all is safe as the shepherd carries the lamb down the mountainside.
 
Caldecott Criteria:
1. “Excellence of execution in the artistic technique employed.” – I find the watercolor pictures in this book to be simple, but detailed enough to be very interesting.  I enjoyed the varied colors used during the daytime scenes as well as the excellent use of shading to achieve a twilight feeling for the night scenes.
 
2. “Excellence of pictorial interpretation of story, theme, or concept.” – The illustrations make the story very easy to follow.
 
3. “Appropriateness of style of illustration to the story, theme or concept.”-  The style is exactly as I would imagine for a mountainous scene filled with sheep and trees.
 
4. “Delineation of plot, theme, characters, setting, mood or information through the pictures.” – The plot, characters, and setting are made clear through the pictures.  The mood, though, could have been more obviousby the use of other facial expressions, or maybe a colorful scene at the end to portray happiness when the lamb is found.
 
5. “Excellence of presentation in recognition of a child audience.” – My children and I all enjoyed this feel-good book.
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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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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

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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.

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