More books this wek with Caldecott hype behind them. First up was Chloe by Peter McCarty - This is a very cute book with simple drawings and a sweet story of family togetherness and the fun you can have when everyone plays together. My favorite illustration is a circle of all the kids with Chloe in the middle (Chloe has ten older siblings and ten younger. Chloe is in the middle.). My other favorite is the page where, "...everyone came to the table for peas, carrots, lettuce, broccoli, asparagus, noodles, and sweet potatoes, all their favorite foods." For some reason I just loved the inclusion of asparagus and noodles. The other thing I really love about this book is that the kids do not love TV. They'd prefer to play in the box the TV came in. I wish more people recognized this!
Next I read A Home for Bird by Philip C. Stead - Vernon the Toad finds a bird - it's clear from the drawing it's not real, but that's not clear to Vernon. Vernon takes the bird everywhere, but the bird never talks. Vernon is worried. He wants to find a home for bird so he's happy. He tries al kinds of different places and finally floats away with bird in a "hot air balloon" (see book cover). There, miraculously, he finds a perfect home for bird. I liked this book, its cute and funny, and I know kids will enjoy it, but again, it's not beating my other choices for the Caldecott.
The third book in this grouping was Jazz Age Josephine, story Jonah Winter, Marjorie Priceman, illustrator. This picture book is a biography of Josephine Baker. I'ts a bit of a melancholy story, really, of an African American singer and dancer who wasn't happy with the work she could find in the US, in part because she was forced to do blackface. African Americans definitely did not enjoy equal opportunities at that time. Josephine finally gave up and fled to Paris where she was an instant success during the height of the Jazz age. Still, she longed for home, but she never moved back I did love the illustrations in this book and how color, and lack of, convey the mood beautifully. My favorite pages are a bright two-page spread of the Eiffel Tower when she arrives in Paris that require reader to turn the book. The book ends with an author's note with more historical info about Josephine that I found helpful because I wanted more information. I'm not convinced the text in this book is "distinguished" enough for the book to win the Caldecott medal, however, but I do think it will win something. Caldecott Honor maybe? Or surely a Coretta Scott King medal of some sort. Your thoughts?