Caldecott Challenge Update, #9

This is my latest check-in for the Caldecott Challenge, where I am reading all the Caldecott Medal and Honor books from 1938 to the present. This stack is primarily from the 1950s with a little peek at the 1980s.

I love being the recipient of  some Southern hospitality via inter-library loans. Feather Mountain came to Seattle from a library at the University of Arkansas-Jonesboro, and Two Reds came from Baton Rouge, Louisiana!

  • Total Books Read to-date: 135/310
  • Stack count: 5
  • Number of Inter-library loans: 2
  • Oldest book: 1951 Caldecott Honor, The Two Reds
  • Newest book: 1984 Caldecott Honor, Ten, Nine, Eight


The Two Reds

Illustrated by Nicholas Mordivinoff and text by William Lipkind

1951 Caldecott Honor

I really liked the modern feel of the illustrations, but didn’t care so much for the story about a boy and a cat, who are both named Red. They don’t like each other. It doesn’t make for much of a story. It also has some stereotyping of Native Americans, which does make it feel dated and out of touch.

Seeing Mordivinoff’s boldly colored illustrations reminds me of the Blue Dog paintings. Anyone else making that leap, too?!

A Blue Dog painting by George Rodrique, a contemporary painter


Feather Mountain

by Elizabeth Olds

1952 Caldecott Honor

This is a folktale about how the birds got their different and varied feathers. It is one of those books that just seemed to have too many words, making it feel really long, at times. Probably not one, I’d share today.


Ape in a Cape: An Alphabet of Odd Animals

by Fritz Eichenberg

1953 Caldecott Honor

I liked this alphabet book a lot, and despite being published 60 years ago, it didn’t feel too dated. I think this one could easily be enjoyed today, and I’m happy to know our (large) library system has four copies on hand.


The Storm Book

Illustrated by Margaret Bloy Graham and text by Charlotte Zolotow

1953 Caldecott Honor

I thought that this was a lovely, descriptive book. Each two page wordless spread is proceeded by a description of the scene. The storyline culminates in the onset of a storm. I like the idea of the reader or listener forming their own visual before seeing how the artist rendered it. In reading the reviews on Goodreads, many people found this format frustrating, as they felt the text and pictures were disconnected. I liked it, but can certainly understand how some people wouldn’t like it though. I could see writing teachers using this as a mentor text for descriptive writing.

“Shooting through the sky like a streak of starlight comes a flash so beautiful, so fast that the boy barely has time to see the flowers straining into the storm wind.”


Ten, Nine, Eight

By Molly Bang

1984 Caldecott Honor

This was a sweet and comforting bedtime, countdown book. I love the cheerful colors and not quite perfectly executed illustrations. Some of the clothing may make it feel a bit 80s-ish, but most of the illustrations are focused on the toys and bedroom, so I wasn’t having too many 1980s flashbacks. Wasn’t that blue ape in Molly Bang’s When Sophie Gets Angry — Really, Really, Angry?


Until next time, 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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