Hi, I'm Mrs. F-B!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Caldecott winners??

Recently I read three more books that have some Caldecott buzz around them.  Honestly, as I've said before, I just really don't get the Caldecott. Or any of the awards, honestly.  What ARE they looking for?  Who knows.  All I know is what I like.  Of these three, I liked Step Gently Out the best because it was kind of different, which most likely means it won't win anything at all.  I liked Extra Yarn next which some people say won't win because the girl holds her knitting needles wrong.  But as a beginning knitter, can I just say, people, cut her some slack.  She's a magic knitter - there oughta be some options.  And I liked and then it's spring (no capitals on the book cover, so no capitals here) fine, but it didn't wow me, so it will probably win the whole darn thing.

Step Gently Out is a poem by Helen Frost accompanied by photographs by Rick Leider.  Two things I love, and two things not often put together, and so, from what I can tell, two things that will sink it's ship.  Or, maybe, two things that will give it the leg up to win. The photos are all macros (close-up) of things you find outdoors - ants, bees, caterpillars, grasshoppers crawling on sticks, grass, flowers, etc.  The photos are vivid and tack sharp but soft at the same time.  Just perfection.  I wonder how many shots the photographer had to take to get these.  As a photographer I especially appreciate how challenging this must have been with teeny, tiny moving animals.  And the accompanying text is also so lovely.  If our kids aren't getting enough time outdoors, at least they can explore through this beautiful book.  I hope it gets something.  There should be a photography book award for kidlit.

Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Jon Klassen (I Want my Hat Back)is about Annabelle and her box of magic yarn of every color.  Or is it the box that's magic?  Hmmm.  Point to ponder.  In any case, the yarn never runs out, and Annabelle knits sweaters for everyone (and everything - even pickup trucks!)  She won't give up her yarn even for the million dollars offered to her by the greedy archduke!  The yarn is very important because it brings color to everyone's life in an otherwise very black (soot) and white (snow) existence.  The storyline is simple and sweet, focused on kindness and giving. The illustrations are soft and gentle and I enjoyed them very much, but they didn't WOW me like the illustrations in Green or the photos in Step Gently Out.  Also, for some reason, I didn't love the pattern in the sweaters which is nitpicky and stupid, but also true (for me).  One thing I know kids will love about the illustrations is this book if they're fans of Jon Klassen is that there are some cameos in this book from his other works. That's pretty cool.

and then it's spring was written by Julie Fogliano and illustrated by Erin Stead who won the Caldecott medal in 2011 for A Sick Day for Amos McGee. since she's already won a Caldecott, I feel a little less bad about saying I don't think this one will win.  It's not that it's not good or that I don't like it, either.  It's just that I don't think it's as good as some of the others.  We've already established, however, that I know nothing about this whole process, so maybe it's better than all of the others.  Much of this book is illustrated in brown because it begins in winter when a boy and his dog decide they've had enough of winter and it's time to get on with the growing of things.  To that end, they plant some grass seeds and wait for them to grow.  And wait. and wait, and wait.    I'm not the most patient person, so I could relate to their frustration with the waiting.  I wonder if it even affected my reading...In any case, on the waiting pages there's just a splash of color - a raincoat, an umbrella, a little red house. Of course spring does come, and with it more brightness, color, and the joy of watching the earth come to life.  Like I said, I don't think it's going to win a medal.  But if it does, I won't be disappointed because this is a good book, a good story, and it has lovely illustrations.

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