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Archive for the ‘Mock Caldecott’ Category

Every January, when the American Library Association announces the winner of the Randolph Caldecott Award, librarians wait with baited breath. Here in Allen County we like to start early in the year looking at newly published picture books and analyzing if they have what it takes to be a winner.  What about this book makes me say “WOW!”? Are these pictures truly distinguished?

Here are a few I’ve seen so far this year that show promise.

brimsby's hats Brimsby’s Hats

written & illustrated by Andrew Prahin

This is a quiet and lovely story about hats, tea, and friendship. I love the palate of colors the artist used and the variety of pages with lots of detail and pages with lots of open space.
okay andy Okay, Andy!

written and illustrated by Maxwell Eaton III

Graphic novels are making their way onto the list more and more and this one is really fun! The images and text are simple but things are spiced up with expressive characters and lots of visual gags.
bad bye Bad Bye, Good Bye


written by Deborah Underwood & illustrated by Jonathan Bean

In this basic story about the sad, bad, and glad parts of moving houses the emotion is clearly expressed in each picture. Overall the images have a blurry and chaotic feel that seems to match the main character’s mood perfectly. It’s the detail in the pictures and the confidence of the parents that helps us see everything will be all right in the end.

We also like to get together just before the official announcement with other librarians and anyone who loves kids’ books to discuss the great picture books in the running and guess the winner. Check back soon to see what date we choose for that event.

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And The Winner Is…

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We had a lovely time this morning talking about picture books and debating which one was worthy of the Caldecott Medal. There are so many great books from 2013 that could be chosen by the real committee but when it came down to the voting here’s our winner:

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floraFlora and the Flamingo written and illustrated by Molly Idle

Our honor books were Locomotive written and illustrated by Brian Floca, Journey written and illustrated by Aaron Becker, and If You Want to See a Whale written by Julie Fogliano and illustrated by Erin Stead.

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January is such an exciting month!  It’s a new year … we have plenty of snow and cold temps here in northeast Indiana to keep things interesting … children return to school after a winter break…and your library holds it’s annual Mock Elections, in anticipation of the REAL American Library Association book awards for children that will be presented later in the month.  On January 27, to be precise.

The library’s Mock Caldecott program will be held this coming Saturday, January 11, from 9am to 1pm.  All adults interested in children’s books are invited to attend this FREE event.  Refreshments will be provided, as well as some wonderful information about picture books, picture book art, and the history of the Caldecott Medal.  We’ll discuss some of the books we think might win the Caldecott this year, and then we’ll hold a vote to choose our own “Mock Caldecott” winner.  Will we choose the same book as the official Caldecott Committee?  Find out on Monday morning, January 27 at 8am EST, when the American Library Association makes its official announcement of the Caldecott winner and other youth media awards from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania!

We have two more book titles to add to our reading list — these were suggested to us last minute, and we believe they absolutely do fit the criteria.  They are:

 The Mighty Lalouche by Matthew Olshan will make you laugh and the illustrations will make you want to look at this book again and again and again.  Sophie Blackall’s art was created using Chinese ink and watercolors, then cut out, arranged and photographed.  The effect is amazing!
  Another book with 3-D style illustrations is Stardines by Jack Prelutsky.  This is a collection of poems, each about an original “animal” — like Stardines — or Swapitis — or Tattlesnakes.  Each poem is accompanied by detailed and very original shadowbox illustrations, created by Carin Berger, that just need to be seen.

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As the end of the year draws nearer and nearer, more and more FANTASTIC picture books keep coming to our attention.  Here are a few more that we think may have a chance at winning the coveted Caldecott Medal in January 2014.  They will be added to our long list of Mock Caldecott nominees — and it’s getting very l-o-n-g at this point.

We’ll be narrowing down our long list  in the next couple of weeks – if there are books you think should stay on the short list, let your voice be heard!  Leave a note in the comments on this post or send us an email.

Beautifully detailed and life-like illustrations help bring to life the story of an Italian-American immigrant, as he shares with his great-granddaughter a lifetime of memorabilia he’s saved in matchboxes, all contained within an old cigar box.  Bagram Ibatoulline’s illustrations add so much to the story of The Matchbox Diary by Paul Fleischman..the warmth evoked by the golden-colored tones of the present contrast perfectly with the sepia of the past.
   Another picture book that also uses color very effectively is Peter Brown’s Mr. Tiger Goes Wild.  Mr. Tiger is a bright orange creature in a drab and dreary world, and he’s very unhappy.  So he leaves, runs away to the green wilderness, but then he misses his friends!  What will Mr. Tiger do?  Read the book…and find out!  You won’t be disappointed.
   I cannot imagine anyone reading Battle Bunny without at least cracking a grin and snickering.  Me?  Belly laugh.  Absolutely.  Jon Scieszka, Mac Barnett, Matthew Myers (and Alex) have teamed up to create a picture book unlike anything I’ve seen — at least in its brand new state.  Many a child (including yours truly) have taken pencil to book, however, and made it their own.  Read this one, share it with your children, and let us know what you think!
  Suzy, the youngest in her family, tries to make sense of her dad leaving to fight in Vietnam in Year of the Jungle by Suzanne Collins.  James Proimos’ illustrations contrast cartoon-style scenes of Suzy and her family through out the year of her father’s deployment with double-page spreads depicting her changing understanding of “the jungle”.  Poignant and not at all patronizing, this book takes the complicated feelings of a child and puts them in a format that’s accessible.
 A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin is a picture book biography, written by Jen Bryant and illustrated by Melissa Sweet.  Great picture book bios bring real people to life at a child’s level of understanding, and the art in this book does that superbly.  Children will learn that Pippin loved to draw and paint as a child and young man, but injuries sustained in WWI made it impossible for him to continue his art…..or did it?  Read find out!
Travel back in time to early-20th-century Muskegon and a nearby lakeside neighborhood called Bluffton where a young Buster Keaton and his family spend several summers. Matt Phelan tells this fictionalized story through the eyes of Henry, a Muskegon local, who befriends Buster and gets to know the world of vaudeville….and at the same time learns quite a bit about himself.  Most of this story is told via Phelan’s delicate but striking art; the framing and the pacing of the story are near-perfect, and the emotions conveyed via color and expression are very real.

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As the end of the year draws nearer and nearer, more and more FANTASTIC picture books keep coming to our attention.  Here are a few more that we think may have a chance at winning the coveted Caldecott Medal in 2014.

We’d love to have you participate in our Mock Caldecott event on January 11, 2014 — click here for more details AND to see our entire list of Mock Caldecott nominees, to date.

 Mr. Wuffles by David Wiesner  Mr. Wuffles is a black cat who really doesn’t care much for his toys — except for one, which just happens to be a REAL spaceship, complete with tiny aliens.  The aliens escape and meet up with other, more local opponents of Mr. Wuffles for assistance. Readers will discover new details of the story each time they return to peruse Mr. Wuffles, by David Wiesner.

That is NOT a Good Idea! by Mo Willems

 Mo Willems is back on our list, with That is NOT a Good Idea!  Remember those old silent films, where the nasty, evil villain tries to trick the gullible female, who usually ends up tied to a railroad track?  That’s what this book made me think of, at first, but there is a wonderful twist to this story’s plot.  Just WHO are those goslings really trying to warn?
 Journey by Aaron Becker  Take a journey to a magical place in Aaron Becker’s wordless picture book, Journey.  Amazingly intricate and detailed illustrations beg to be gazed at again and again and again.  This is a place I want to visit, although after reading this book, I feel like I already have…
 Flora and the Flamingo Words are SO not necessary in Molly Idle’s Flora and the Flamingo.  Flora and her feathered friend leap and twist and dance across the pages — and behind the flaps.  This is a story about dancing, but also about friendship and the twists and turns that can happen between friends.   Absolutely stunning.
Boxers by Gene Luen Yang Saints by Gene Luen Yang

I’m not sure how the Caldecott Committee would even begin to handle Boxers and Saints, by Gene Luen Yang, since they’re so tightly connected, and only ONE title can win.  And…being graphic novels, I’m not sure how they fit into the criteria.  But… I personally believe they qualify as picture books, allbeit these titles are definitely for the older age range (remember … Caldecott committees have to consider everything intended for children up to age 14).  And I found the art — and the format — to be exceptional. What do YOU think?

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Art by Jerry Pinkney

The Tortoise and the Hare by Caldecott Medalist Jerry Pinkney is a wonderful addition to his collection of different versions of folktales or fables.  The story of the tortoise and the hare is a widely known tale, from Aesop or Uncle Remus.

This variant is detailed and delightful.  Many of the animals have been given a scarf, or vest, or hat to personalize and personify them.  Beginning with the front and back covers the story is off to a brisk pace.  Pinkney uses the ‘moral’ of the story to help tell the story.  He adds one word at a time as the story and the tortoise move along.  The landscape is breathtaking.  Pinkney sets this adaptation in the American Southwest.

There is an artist’s note and in his words, “I used graphite, watercolor, colored pencils, gouache, and pastel on Arches hot-pressed watercolor paper to create the artwork.”  I admit I am very biased, I love Jerry Pinkney’s work and watercolors.

What a brilliant addition to the nearly wordless book collection, also.  I would use this book with middle to upper elementary students.  English Language Learners would benefit from this book.  Just like me, I’m sure school-aged children will pour over the pages again and again finding new details to discover.

If you’d like to find other versions of The Tortoise and the Hare, try this list here.

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Once upon a time, my (now college-age) son and I would visit the library every week looking for “train books”.   And together we read every. single. one.  Repeatedly.   Which is a GREAT THING!  He’s now an avid reader and library user.  I ran across a few train books as I was searching for titles to add to our Mock Caldecott list…I know these would have been favorites back in the day.   Maybe they’ll become favorites of your little train-lover!

How to Train a Train by Jason Carter Eaton, illustrated by John Rocco, is a fantastic story that is actually a guidebook that “contains everything you need to know to choose, track, and train your very own pet train”.I have no idea where John Rocco gets his paint, but his palette is amazing — beautiful work with shadow and light, and hues that have an almost nostalgic feel to them. Love it!
Train, by Elisha Cooper, allows readers to experience many different kinds of modern trains, including a commuter train, a passenger train, and a freight train.Panoramic watercolor paintings provide a glimpse into the landscapes and architecture surrounding the world of trains.  Absolutely beautiful.
  Brian Floca’s Locomotive provides an historical glimpse at what it was like to ride the Transcontinental Railroad of the 1860s.This book really needs to be seen — and read aloud.  Detailed paintings bring the past alive for readers of all ages.  Even the text becomes part of the art, at times, and it works so well!If you’re like me and you want to know more, there are notes and sources at the end of the book, as well as on the endpapers.

Happy Reading!

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