Monday, January 28, 2013

Caldecott Award Hopefuls

Here's my post on the Caldecott for our library's FB page:

The Caldecott Award is unusually difficult to predict this year.  Any of the following books could be honored or awarded by the committee or none of them could!  The Caldecott Award is given to the best illustrated children's book.  I know nothing about artwork and have no credibility to predict this award, but, still, these are my ten favorite illustrated children's books of 2012:
  1. Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett; Illustrated by Jon Klassen. Klassen illustrated three picture books this year and I could just as easily see his other two making it onto the Caldecott list as this one.  The House Held up by Trees and This is Not my Hat are both amazing works, but this one noses ahead in my mind from the sheer adorableness factor (see, I warned you I have no credibility!).  It warms the cockles of your heart to read about this little girl covering the world in yarn.  Plus, it must have taken some serious dedication to illustrate all that yarn!  I can see a lot of people feeling passionate about this book.  Link to this book in JCPL online catalog:
  2. Green by Laura Vaccaro Seeger. This one is quite the feat.  The author/illustrator devotes this entire book to the color green, in all its different shades.  Sure, there have been other books dedicated to a certain color, but none as masterfully illustrated as this one.  Astounding from page one.  Hopefully Laura Vaccaro Seeger will continue her homage to color.  Link to this book in JCPL online catalog:
  3. Sleep Like a Tiger by Mary Logue; illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski.  This book has flown under the radar a bit, but that doesn't mean it's no less deserving.  Logue and Zagarenski take the tired theme of the bedtime book and completely rejuvenate it, giving their story a charm and whimsy rare in children's literature.  Visually exquisite and an absolute delight to read.  Link to this book in JCPL online catalog:
  4. Creepy Carrots by Aaron Reynolds; illustrated by Peter Brown.  I had the pleasure of hearing Peter Brown speak about this book at the National Book Festival last fall.  He said that the idea he and Reynolds were going for in this book was to turn the old tv show The Twilight Zone into a picture book for kids.  Boy, did they ever succeed.  Equal parts adorable and creepy (and all-around hilarious) this is my new favorite gift to young kids.  Link to this book in JCPL online catalog:
  5. Bear Has a Story to Tell by Philip C. Stead illustrated by Erin E. Stead.  The pair that brought us the Caldecott winning A Sick Day for Amos McGee is back with numerous books both together and separate this year.  Bear is my favorite.  It's serene, calm, and utterly charming; this may be the most comforting story of 2012.  The amazing illustrations match the lovely story of Bear's patience perfectly.  (Watch out for the Stead's And Then It's Spring or Phillip C. Stead's A Home for Bird to possible show up as Caldecotts too this year!)  Link to this book in JCPL online catalog:
  6. Unspoken: A Story from the Underground Railroad by Henry Cole.  It's hard to deny the talent of Henry Cole when faced with the gorgeous illustrations in this wordless picture book. He lets those illustrations do the talking for him and what they relate will astound you.  A story of humanity, history, and courage, this one is not to be missed.  Link to this book in JCPL online catalog:
  7. Minette's Feast: The Delicious Story of Julia Child and her Cat by Susanna Reich; illustrated by Amy Bates.  I'm a Julia Child snob.  She's one of my heroes, and I can't stand depictions of her that are lacking in respect.  This story manages to be respectful, fun, and even educational.  Telling Julia and Paul Child's experiences in France through the eyes of their pet cat is a genius of an idea and Reich and Bates pull it off perfectly.  Link to this book in JCPL online catalog:
  8. I Like Old Clothes by Mary Ann Hoberman illustrated by Patrice Barton.  I haven't actually heard this one talked about much in Caldecott discussions, but it's a big hit at JCPL.  The text, about a child who (you guessed it) likes old clothes, is so clever and sweet, but it's the new illustrations to this old tale that really send this book over-the-top quality-wise.  Link to this book in JCPL online catalog:
  9. Virginia Wolf by Kyo Maclear; illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault.  This picture book that is a sort of allegory about the depression of the great author Virginia Wolf and her relationship with her sister, may not be the best book for children.  It's a fun story even if you don't know who Wolf is, but it gains so much more power when you know the author's struggles.  Anyway, regardless of whether or not this is completely a "children's" book, the illustrations fit the text perfectly.  They are at times stark, at times beautiful, and Arsenault utilizes silhouettes in a very moving way.  Link to this book in JCPL online catalog:
  10. Step Gently Out by Helen Frost; photographs by Rick Lieder.  Has the Caldecott ever gone to a book that's illustrated solely with photographs?  I don't think it has.  It would be remiss of the committee to not consider this book filled with photographs, though.  An examination of the wonder that fills our world, Lieder shows that it takes just as much talent to take photographs as it does to draw or paint.  A beautiful, beautiful book.  Link to this book in JCPL online catalog:

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