Caldecott Challenge Update, #6

A Caldecott Snapshot

  • Total Books Read to-date: 115/310
  • Stack count: 4
  • Number of Inter-library loans: 1 (Dash and Dart)
  • Oldest book: 1943 Caldecott Honor, Dash and Dart
  • Newest book: 1954 Caldecott Honor, A Very Special House

My thoughts on the stack:

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Dash and Dart

by Mary Buff and Conrad Buff

1943 Caldecott Honor

From Dash and Dart

As I read this, I kept thinking it was a plotless version of Bambi. The fawns are cute and we get to see them in a lovely forest setting, but that’s about it. They grow bigger, experience the seasons and grow antlers. Not particularly riveting, and I’m not sure to whom I’d recommend this one.

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Song of the Swallows

by Leo Politi

1950 Caldecott Medal

From Song of the Swallows

I enjoyed this book the most of my stack, but I think that’s because when I was a teacher, I taught California history, including history of the Mission system. I loved the illustrations and information about the architecture and layout of the mission. In particular, I’ve shared the aerial view of the mission, as I think it gives a great sense of the sprawling, all-inclusive complex that these missions where designed to be. I could see still using and sharing this book in a classroom context, though I can’t really see handing this to a child not actively learning about Mission life.

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The Biggest Bear

by Lynn Ward

1953 Caldecott Medal

From The Biggest Bear

Ugh. I did not like this book. I haven’t read all the nominee books for the Caldecott year 1950, but honestly the Caldecott Committee found this one more worthy than One Morning in Maine by Robert McCloskey? Of course, I’m reading this with a more enlightened sense of animal life than when this book was published, but I couldn’t stand the obsession with killing bears, toting guns, raising bears as domesticated animals, and then identifying a captured, zoo-bound bear, as having a great life to look forward too.

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A Very Special House

Illustrated by Maurice Sendak and Written by Ruth Krauss

1953 Caldecott Honor

From A Very Special House

I imagine this was considered to be ground breaking for the time for both the whimsical feel of it’s text and the highly imaginative illustrations. Krauss’s word play makes for a fun read. Sendak’s illustrations have a doodle-like feel to them, which is in sharp contrast to the more classically rendered realistic illustrations that you find in contemporaries to this book, like a McCloskey, for example, or the above mentioned The Biggest Bear by Lynn Ward. It is not my favorite Krauss book, nor is it my favorite book illustrated by Sendak, but it was still fun to read.

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Find all of these books reviewed over at my Goodreads Caldecott bookshelf. You can also follow along in the Newbery discussions, fondly called Nerdcott, at Twitter using the hashtag #nerdcott, or join us in the stress-free Challenge! Find out more about the challenge here in Laura’s original post or Anna’s original post.

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One comment on “Caldecott Challenge Update, #6

  1. […] there are Newbery and Caldecott Challenges galore (including people ambitious enough to read all the Caldecott winners in one day!), and this […]

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