Or, as Roger Sutton said in his blog post today, “Tuesday-morning quarterbacking.”
Robin and I will each write one more post this week, then Roger will tie up the first Calling Caldecott season with a guest post.
Unlike Robin who went to the actual press conference at 7:45 a.m. Dallas time, I just had to get to work by 8:30 to access ALA’s URL for streaming video. By the time the last awards were being announced, we had all left our individual computers and rolled chairs up to Cindy Ritter’s. We’re an opinionated bunch and there were plenty of cheers, “Oh, wow!”s, and “what the…?!”s during the broadcast.
I was pretty sure the Caldecott winner and honor books would include a book or two that we failed to discuss here, so I’d need to go find it and weigh in on it. Not so! I guess we were in sync with this year’s committee, but it doesn’t always work that way. Even though there are no new books to discuss, I’m happy to go on record with my response to the winners.
I am overjoyed that A Ball for Daisy won. It was one of the books I mourned most when it failed to get on the second ballot during our mock vote. In my opinion, it’s a perfect book. But it seems so simple compared to a book like Grandpa Green or Me…Jane, so I wondered if it would be pushed out of the top spot and even out of honor book contention. I should have remembered that the real committee is in a different situation from the rest of us. Being on Caldecott becomes one of the most important things going on in their lives and they look at every book in great detail. Books that are subtle and less flashy have a better chance of succeeding with the committee than they do with one-day mock Caldecotts. Raschka’s style looks as if it comes so easily to him. All those quick brush strokes just happen to fall in the right place with the right amount of paint coming off the brush. I happen to know from spending some time with him many years ago (he did the 1998 Horn Book Magazine covers) that it’s no where near that simple. Congratulations to Chris on his second Caldecott Medal. (He won for The Hello, Goodbye Window in 2006 and got an Honor for Yo! Yes? in 1994.)
Of the Honor Books, I was happiest about Me…Jane and least surprised about Grandpa Green. Even though our mock chose Me…Jane as the winner, I wasn’t sure it had a chance with the committee because they might have been concerned about the photo at the end. Blackout has huge kid appeal and an impeccable sense of drama and timing, but it’s the only book on this list that The Horn Book Magazine passed up for reviewing. I would absolutely use it with kids and I plan to show it to my Ed School students next year, but I’m afraid I still don’t love the way Rocco draws people.
One thing I love about these awards is that the rest of world notices picture books for a day or two. (But what happened with the Today Show again? Did Jack and Chris go on later, swigging wine with Hoda and Kathie Lee? I need to know!)
When I started typing this post, my plan was to spend most of it on the dearth of women among Caldecott honorees again this year. This has come up before, so in case you missed the discussion on Read Roger in 2007, here it is.
Is this gender gap notable or just anecdotal? If it’s notable, why do you think it happens?