Just to recap my previous blog post Challenging Myself (Realistically), I decided that my reading challenge would be to read more award winners and honor books so I have dedicated my reading time to doing just that. I further organized my challenge by dedicating each week to one specific award category and this week is The Caldecott Award.
The Caldecott Medal was named in honor of nineteenth-century English illustrator Randolph Caldecott. It is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children.
Maurice Sendak is most know for Where the Wild Things Are, which is a significantly better book in my opinion. Ida must save her baby sister who has been kidnapped by goblins to be a baby bride. If the theme of kidnapping isn’t scary enough, Ida’s father is also away at sea and the girls mother seems to be sedated in a deep depression, forcing Ida to be the one in charge. Strange. Sendak’s illustrations are washed in muted colors and are grotesquely realistic in my opinion -the facial expressions are not cutesy or soft.
I loved all of the color and detail that Stephen Gammell put into these silly and relatable characters. We all have those eccentric family members who we only get to see every once in a while, but when we do it’s like we’ve never been apart.
This story was great because of its ability to take the readers emotions on such a grand journey in so few pages. Kadir Nelson’s use of shadows and light in his illustrations are nothing short of true art and really drive Ellen Levine’s words home.
If the entire book looked like this cover it may have been more appealing to me. The story wasn’t bad, but it kind of felt all over the place -true Mei Li was all over the place exploring the fair and New Year’s Eve celebrations, but it didn’t feel like it was working towards and end goal for me. The illustrations were good, but could have been taken to the next level with color.
I’m sure you can guess what my favorite part of this book was… If you guessed the dog then you guessed correctly! I just love illustrations of animals! But other than that Dav Pilkey did a great job of demonstrating a boy’s companionship with his dog and both of the characters dedication and love for delivering papers to the sleepy neighborhood. A simple, yet beautiful story.