Caldecott Challenge Update, #13

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. Today I wrap up my thoughts on the award years 1958 and 1959. You may have to wade through some titles, but there are definitely a few worth pulling out from the shelves here.


1958 Caldecott Medal

Time of Wonder

By Robert McCloskey

This is a beautiful book that celebrates a child’s wide-eyed time in nature. I know it’s set in Maine, but it reminds me of Washington’s San Juan islands. Softly colored illustrations set the gentle tone.


1958 Caldecott Honor

1 is One

By Tasha Tudor


This is a very sweet counting book for numbers 1-20. It is filled with lovely, nostalgic illustrations of sweet kids and animals doing activities like painting picking flowers, and making flower wreaths.


1958 Caldecott Honor

Anatole and the Cat

Illustrated by Paul Galdone and written by Eve Titus

This is cute, but I prefer the original Anatole book, which won an honor in 1957. Here he out smarts a cat so that he can continue his cheese tasting work.


1958 Caldecott Honor

Fly High, Fly Low

By Don Freeman


I rather liked this cute story about two pigeons finding their own unique home, and what happens when that cozy space is disrupted.  I bet many kids today would enjoy this title, too!

Favorite line: “Suddenly, like a bolt out of the blue, Midge felt their perch give a terrible lurch!”


1958 Caldecott Honor

Mr. Penny’s Race Horse

By Marie Hall Ets

This title was so densely worded, it left me feeling very restless. On many occasions, the text of one sentence is split between two pages (via a page turn), which is something as a reader of picture books drives me crazy. The story line of a man finding fame and possibly fortune in his animals wasn’t enough to keep me interested in what felt like a very long story. Certainly not one to seek out in my opinion. Our very large library system only has one copy and it is kept out of regular circulation in Central Storage.


1959 Caldecott Medal


Adapted from Chaucer and illustrated by Barbara Cooney

I loved the richly detailed illustrations by the author/illustrator who did one of my all-time favorite, Miss Rumphius. The story, which is an adaptation of Chaucer’s tale, comes across as too preachy and moralistic, and I’m just not sure today’s kids will connect with it. It could have a place, though, when doing a lesson on morals and fables in literature.


1959 Caldecott Honor

What Do You Say, Dear?

Illustrated by Maurice Sendak and written by Sesyle Joslin

Humorous scenes are portrayed and the reader is prompted to come up with an appropriate, polite response. A great one to teach manners. I must admit some of the scenes were odd, but then again Sendak, did illustrate them!


1959 Caldecott Honor


By Taro Yashima


A sweet story of a young girl who is very excited to use her new boots and umbrella. Many kids will connect to the challenges of waiting and anticipating. These city-focused illustrations remind me a lot of Don Freeman’s work.


1959 Caldecott Honor

The House that Jack Built: La Maison Que Jacques A Batie

By Antonio Frasconi


This book has some fun illustrations (linoleum block printing?) with a modern feel to them. The cummulative The House that Jack Built story is told in both French and English. This would be great to share with a dual language child, or just for the fun of trying on a French accent.


Until next time, find all these books reviewed over at my Goodreads Caldecott bookshelf. You can also follow along in the Caldecott 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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