Choose 5 picture books that were published in 2008 or 5 picture books that were published in 2009. Look at the criteria for the Caldecott Award. If you were on the Caldecott Award Committee, which do you think best fits the criteria and should win the award? Which should be honor books? Why? Make sure you explain fully your reasoning and list the books, authors, and illustrators for all 5 books.
Bats at the Library by Brian Lies (Winner)
This book has won for its excellence of execution in the artistic technique employed. The story is enhanced by the artwork and tells its own story. The bats have a distinctive personality and the richly detailed pages of bats in classic stories evoke nostalgia for older books such as Pipi Longstocking and Winnie the Pooh. The attention to detail of the books is shown on the very first page where the family of bats is hanging upside down but it is only the roof of the house in the upper right hand corner that gives it away.
Way Up and Over Everything by Alice McGill, illustrated by Jude Daly (Honor Book)
This book is a Caldecott Honor book because of the stylized art that is spare but the elegant design enhances the folk-art watercolor illustrations. The watercolor landscapes of the Georgia country shows a vast area that is hard to escapse into. The characters in the story are almost stick figures but are realistic enough to draw young readers in. The story is seen from a birds-eye view and adds to the taking to the air and flying away. Younger children will be able to follow the story through pictures as it is read aloud.
A Visitor for Bear by Bonny Becker, illustrated by Kady MacDonald Denton (Honor Book)
A Visitor for Bear is set in watercolors, ink, and gouache. This book is a pure delight and the engaging characters of Bear and Mouse are brought to life by the delightful illustrations. Bear is a comic character with his wild gestures and tiny apron but Mouse is small and easy to miss however is always popping up in unexpected places looking happy to see Bear. It is fun to see the tiny Mouse advancing friendship to the large Bear and proves that just because you are small doesn't mean you should be afraid. Their interaction sets the mood for this playful story.
Buffalo Music by Tracey E. Fern, illustrated by Lauren Castillo
Buffalo Music has a very rustic feel that comes out throught the muted tones that make up the American prairie. The characters are outlined in thick black lines and the buffalo calves look warm and fuzzy. Although the mixed-media illustrations depict the west well with its greys and browns, the illustrations did not show the excellence of presentation that the others did.
Boogie Knights by Lisa Wheeler, illustrated by Mark Siegel
Boogie Knights is cutely drawn in doodles and in full page artwork. It is a fun book that has many pictures that advance the plot and even a sub-plot involving a scared prince that is spying on the festivities. Although the illustrations are quite good and help move the story, it does not have the depth of the others.
Caldecott Award Committee Criteria
1. In identifying a distinguished picture in a book for children,
a. Committee members need to consider:
Excellence of execution in the artistic technique employed;
Excellence of pictorial interpretation of story, theme, or concept; of appropriateness of style
of illustration to the story, theme or concept; of delineation of plot, theme, characters, setting
mood or information through the pictures.
b. Committee members must consider excellence of presentation in recognition of a child
2. The only limitation to graphic form is that the form must be one which may be used in a picture book. The book must be a self-contained entity, not dependent on other media (i.e., sound or film equipment) for its enjoyment.
3. Each book is to be considered as a picture book. The committee is to make its decision primarily on the illustration, but other components of a book are to be considered especially when they make a book less effective as a children's picture book. Such other components might include the written text, the overall design of the book, etc.