Caldecott Challenge Update, #10

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 book stack had books from award years 1953 and 1954 and included one in particular that I’m happy to see still circulating widely at our library system. I’ve now read all the Caldecott Medal and Honor books from 1938-1954!

  • Total Books Read to-date: 141/310
  • Stack count: 6
  • Number of Inter-library loans: 3

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Puss in Boots

By Marcia Brown, with text adapted from Charles Perrault

1953 Caldecott Honor

I didn’t love this one, probably because the story of Puss in Boots is just a little strange. Some of the illustrations were very loosely sketched and not outlined, which is a frequent style of Marcia Brown fashion. I found I was distracted by those, and much preferred the ones that were more firmly outlined.

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Five Monkeys

By Juliet Kepes

1953 Caldecott Honor

Okay, I was somewhat terrified by these goofy looking monkeys. Aside from the oddly drawn monkeys, the illustrations were pretty good, and I loved the bright colors that were used. In the story the monkeys are a nuisance to all the jungle animals and frankly the story was too wordy and wasn’t that appealing. If you want a better story about mischievous animals turned thoughtful, check out Graham Baese’s Jungle Drums, which is beautifully illustrated.

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When Will the World Be Mine?

Illustrated by Jean Charlot and text by Mariam Schlein

1954 Caldecott Honor

I liked this sweet little story of a curious bunny exploring the world. The gentle nature theme is sweet and I enjoyed the fact that there were no threatening predators looming for the little bunny as he explored. The soft sketchy-style illustrations and bunny reminded me a bit of Clare Turlay Newberry’s work.

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Journey Cake, Ho!

Illustrated by Robert McCloskey and text by Ruth Sawyer

1954 Caldecott Honor

I liked Journey Cake, Ho! for its word play, which I think that kids will still delight in. McCloskey is one of my favorite illustrators, and I generally liked the pictures in this book, though I could have done without the guns. In the story the boy leaves his poor impoverished home, but ends up returning home with the Journey Cake’s help. Here is an example of the word play, that I think kids will still enjoy today.

“A bother, a pest!

All work and no rest!

Come winter, come spring,

Life’s a nettlesome thing.”

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Steadfast Tin Soldier

Illustrated by Marcia Brown, with text adapted from Hans Christian Andersen by M.R. James

1954 Caldecott Honor

I like this tale of the Steadfast Tin Soldier, though I think it’s premise of true love and sacrifice is above the heads of most kids. I’m not always the biggest fan of Marcia Brown’s illustrations but here they are delicate and airy, which fits the story nicely.

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Green Eyes

By Abe Birnbaum

1954 Caldecott Honor

And lastly, we come to my favorite in the stack–Green Eyes. I had to do a double take to confirm the year this was published-1953-when I first saw this one. It’s bold outlining and page edge to page edge of bright color seem so modern. Kids will still adore this cat’s story as the text still has great appeal as a storybook, too.

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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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