Friday, July 26, 2013

Our Review: The 2013 Caldecott Medal Winners & Honors

The Randolph Caldecott Medal recognizes the most distinguished American picture book for children from the previous year. You know the look - those kid books that have the silver or golden seal on the jacket.

The gold seal is for the winner, the silver seal is awarded for "honors" -- or I would call the "runners-up."

The award is given to the illustrator, and while I'm sure story content could play a role, the emphasis on the pictures.

Thanks to our local library, we've had the 2013 winners hanging out our house for the past month or so. With that, I present "Our Review" of the six selections for 2013. When I say "our" in this post, I am speaking of my recently turned five year-old daughter, and my two-and-half year-old son, who have been wild about books recently. I won't speak for my wife or 11 month old.

The Caldacott Winner: This Is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen.
While this is the award winner, this is not our favorite. This is not anyone's favorite. It's a short story about a little fish who steals a little bowler hat from a large sleeping fish. The Caldacott award goes to illustrations, not content, but me and kids mostly enjoy content, and while this has some sarcasm the plot is quick, brief, and forgettable. The kids do not request this read.

Caldacott Honor: Creepy Carrots by Aaron Reynolds, Illustrations by Peter Brown
***Shep's Favorite (Shepherd's my Two Year Old).
So, the way this works is Peter Brown's the honor recipient here for his artwork - and his artwork is fun with high gloss black and white images reminiscent of an old horror movie. The splash of orange that fills the pages as the protagonist fears for Creepy Carrots creates both striking and fun art. Shepherd would bring this book into our room in the morning or request a reading. He looks at the pictures by himself and loves saying the title "Creapy Carrots." Not sure if the full irony and fun of the plot captures his mind, but the art certainly does.

Caldacott Honor: Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett, Illustrations by Jon Klassen
***Linden's Favorite (Linden's my Five Year Old)
Jon Klassen not only is the winner of the 2013 Caldacott, he also received an honor status for this book as well. I personally really enjoy this book as well. The illustrations are a stark white and black, but the little girl in this book starts knitting sweaters for everyone and everything in the town with her "extra yarn" that seems to never run out. I really enjoy reading this book, it's fun, whimsical, has a cute little story. The artwork is striking and the tempo of the story is great for bedtime.

Caldacott Honor: Green by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
The pictures in this book are beautiful. I would hang the pictures on my wall. The book has artful cutouts that lead from one page to the next. It's honor status for the illustrator is well deserved. But the text of the story reads like the paint chip samples at Home Depot. The least narrative of the bunch, this is the families least favorite.

Caldacott Honor: One Cool Friend by Toni Buzzeo, Illustrations by David Small
***The Dad Favorite
This story is an incredibly inventive story about a boy who brings home a penguin from the aquarium. The reality is that the pictures are probably the least striking of all the honors, but fit perfectly with the dry tone of the story. The story is dialogue driven between the boy and his father, and my wife says when I read the story I make the dad's voice sound creepy, like Jim Moriarty in BBC's Sherlock. I think my kids will enjoy this book even more as they get older.

Caldacott Honor: Sleep Like A Tiger by Mary Logue, Illustrations by Pamela Zagarenski
***Probably The Family's Runner-Up
This is a cute story that fits into the "bed time story" sub-genre of children's stories. But it has a special sweet tone to it, wonderful pictures and a feel that is both modern and classic at the same time. We have probably in reality read this one the most, because it's simply a nice bedtime story to read to the kids and they love it. From the standpoint of narrative and art this one is a fantastic children's story.

1 comment:

nana said...

Love this post and the fact that you are so diligent about reading to your children :)