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.|