Caldecott Challenge Update, #8

This is my latest update for the Caldecott Challenge, where I am reading all the Caldecott Medal and Honor books from 1938 to the present. I’m well into the 1950s now, and am thrilled to see more books that are not excruciatingly long, and have a nice design feel to them with a balance of text, illustrations and empty space on each page.

  • Total Books Read to-date: 130/310
  • Stack count: 6
  • Number of Inter-library loans: 4
  • Oldest book: 1951 Caldecott Medal, The Egg Tree

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The Egg Tree

by Katherine Milhous

1951 Caldecott Medal

Overall, I liked this one and I think that many kids who celebrate Easter and enjoy the egg-decorating experience would like this one as well. The nice bold colors done in a looser sketch-style were nice and reminded me of Clement Hurd’s pictures for Margaret Wise Brown’s Runaway Bunny.

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Finders Keepers

Illustrated by Nicolas Mordvinoff and text by William Lipkind

1952 Caldecott Medal

This was another book that really struck me for what felt like a very modern design. The colors were bold and on many pages, the background was wall-to-wall red and then the images and text were overlaid on top. I suspect the design and illustrations were what pushed this book about two squabbling dogs to the medal position for 1952.

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Skipper John’s Cook

by Marcia Brown

1952 Caldecott Honor

This one stood out as having a nice balance of text and illustrations, along with some white space on each page. In the story, a young boy sets sail on a boat as a cook, where he is great at cooking fish and only fish. It felt like a storybook you could still share today, without the readers or audience getting too restless due to length. As with several of Brown’s other books, I liked the illustrations more than the story itself.

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Mr. T.W. Anthony Woo

by Marie Hall Ets

1952 Caldecott Honor

This book was way, way, WAY too long. If I kept wondering when it was going to be over, I can imagine many of today’s readers would feel the same way. Small, my daughter and Caldecott-side kick got to this one in the book bag before I did and went out of her way to tell me how much she didn’t like it. On the plus, as always, I love Ets’s illustrations. These I’m guessing are wood block, or linoleum cut prints with amazing detail. Illustrations 4-stars, text 2-stars.

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Bear Party

William Pene du Bois

1952 Caldecott Honor

I liked that this was part of the growing trend to have a better balance of less text on each page. I liked the soft-focus illustrations and thought they were sweet and whimsical. This story about a group of squabbling koala bears that learn to get along was a bit odd in my opinion, but I’m sure it will have its fans.

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All Falling Down

Illustrated by Margaret Bloy Graham and text by Gene Zion

Caldecott Honor 1952

I really enjoyed this sweet and simple story illustrating all the different things that can fall down. I think preschoolers and early grade school aged kids will still enjoy this one today.

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Find all 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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