I have heard about Barry Moser’s thoughts on the Caldecott, but had never actually read them before. Mrs. Google found me this 1999 interview between Moser and Anna Olswanger, part of which appeared in Book Links.
Olswanger: Are you disappointed that you’ve never won the Caldecott Award?
Moser: The only thing the Caldecott would do is make my publisher more money, and make me a little more money too. My editors will kill me if I say this and you write it, but I don’t care. My problem with awards, not specifically the Caldecott, is that they are given by a committee, which means at best, they are a dilution. I was giving a talk one time to a group of librarians in New Jersey, and they were talking about the Caldecott now and the Caldecott twenty years ago, the books that had not proven to be great classics, and the ones that had. And they asked me my opinion. I said, “You don’t want my opinion. I should stay out of this.” I had given my speech and I was sitting having coffee–they didn’t have the manners to have a bottle of whiskey on hand–and I said, “Let me put it to you this way. How many of you in this room know what a metaphor is?” All hands went up. “How many of you know what a simile is?” All hands went up. “How many know what a sonnet is?” All hands went up. “How many of you know what simultaneous contrast is?” Not one hand went up. “How many of you can define a double-split complementary color scheme?” Again, not one hand went up. I said, “But it’s librarians that give out the Caldecott.” So people are giving awards for subject matter, not for illustrations. To me it’s a nagging thing. It would be like a bunch of museum directors giving out literary awards. How many writers would sit still for that?