Out of Wonder: Poems Celebrating Poets is an unusual book: a collection of original poems by three contemporary poets celebrating the work of twenty established poets, from Rumi to Gwendolyn Brooks to Naomi Shihab Nye. Just looking at the cover is enough to see that illustrator Ekua Holmes (winner of, among other awards, a 2015 Caldecott Honor for her first book, Voice of Freedom) has held up her end on the visual side of the celebration. Rich, glowing colors match the rich imagery; every page exudes vibrancy and energy but also reveals her thoughtful approach to each individual. She provides a sense of place when appropriate (see the wintry setting for the Robert Frost), motion (see Walter Dean Myers playing bball) and even sound (see and hear the jazz trumpet for Langston Hughes) when appropriate. Her collages are just stunning.
The 2018 Caldecott committee will surely be taking notice of the extremely eye-catching Out of Wonder. (And it was published within the last two weeks, so you can take notice, too!) Will it be picture-book-y enough for them? I.e., will they find here the compelling page-turns that characterize picture books? Or will they see the book more as a collection of individual images — as more of an illustrated book? The Caldecott Award has begun to embrace so much more variety in recent years. So will the committee even make the distinction between picture book and illustrated book? Or will the distinction be important to them? Time will tell. Meanwhile, we will just have to … wonder.