Caldecott Challenge Update, #7

A Caldecott Snapshot

  • Total Books Read to-date: 124/310
  • Stack count: 9
  • Number of Inter-library loans: 3 (Fish in the Air came over 2,300 miles from Toledo, Ohio!)
  • Oldest book: 1948 Caldecott Honors, Juanita and Fish in the Air
  • Newest book: 2009 Caldecott Honor, A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever

Click on the cover images to get more complete synopsis on each title!

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Highlights from a few in the stack:

Juanita

by Leo Politi

1948 Caldecott Honor

Leo Politi has done a marvelous job at capturing the Latino community experience in the Southern California area through the books I’ve read so far for the Challenge (Pedro, the Angel of Olvera Street and The Song of the Swallows). I prefer his 1950 Medal winning Song of the Swallows slightly more than this one, because I like it’s topic of Mission history better, though this is a nice look at a Mexican cultural celebration. I could see it still being used in studying Mexican heritage in Los Angeles. The pictures are sweet and colorful.

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Henry, Fisherman

by Marcia Brown

1950 Caldecott Honor

Of the two Marcia Brown books in my stack, this was the favorite for both my kids and I. It was very much a “day in the life” type story of a young boy in the Virgin Islands and while the story was okay, the illustrations are terrific. The color choices for these block prints were bright and cheerful. I especially liked the harbor scenes with the multitude of colors.

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If I Ran the Zoo

by Dr. Suess

1951 Caldecott Honor

This book is very Suess-ian, with great rhyming and wacky animals. As Caldecott Challenge friend Laura wrote, there are some derogatory racial references to Asians in the book, but overall, it is a great one to read aloud.

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The Most Wonderful Doll in the World

Illustrated by Helen Stone and Written by Phyllis McGinley

1951 Caldecott Honor

As a former doll owner and mom to two girls, I should like a good doll story, but, oh, how I despised the little girl in this story, which is really an early chapter book rather than a picture book. The young girl Dulcy loses a doll, and with each person she meets the tales of the doll’s features get more and more exaggerated. I know the character was supposed to be that way to teach a lesson to the reader, but I thought it was over the top. I did, however, like the loose, sketch-style of the illustrations though.

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T-Bone the Babysitter

by Clare Turlay Newberry

1951 Caldecott Honor

This was my favorite of the Clare Turlay Newberry books that I’ve read so far for the Challenge. As an author and illustrator, it’s clear that she really understood the connection between people and their pets. This one is a sweet story, where the family cat is a constant companion to family’s new baby. When the cat becomes a bit too mischievous around the house, it is banished to a  relative’s home in the country. It soon becomes apparent that no one is happy with the new arrangement. Newberry’s illustrations are adorable and I think it has a nice balance of text to illustrations that make it feel like a modern story book.

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A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever

by Marla Frazee

2009 Caldecott Honor

Fast forward almost 60 years to this 2009 Honor book. Frazee, as always delights with her whimsical kids and funny details in this tale about two boys who go to a summer day camp together. It’s especially fun to note that the illustrations are often contrary to what the text is describing, which makes it so fun to share. For example the text says, “They decided to stay home and enjoy Bill and Pam’s company.” But meanwhile, the illustration shows the boys high-tailing it out of the house. A perfect tale of kids, just being kids.

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The other books I read from this stack

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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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