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Blue Sky, White Stars

At first glance, readers might mistake Blue Sky, White Stars for a patriotic picture book that’s primarily about the Fourth of July. Although it does include this holiday, the book delivers much more. It presents a multi-layered, complex, inclusive, expansive, and timely depiction of America through highlighting different features of the flag. On the cover […]

Prepare to Be Amazed!

If you love picture books (and we assume you do, since you’re here), then you most likely are familiar with 100 Scope Notes, the blog of school librarian Travis Jonker. Over the years, Travis has written a series of posts about various aspects of Caldecott history. Today we take a break from discussing 2017 picture books to let Mr. […]

Muddy

Well, of course a book about blues musician Muddy Waters is the size and shape of a record album! On this book cover, Muddy Waters is framed sitting beneath a 3D-textured script of his name, while surrounded by richly textured patterns resembling Malian bògòlanfini (mud cloth). Illustrator Evan Turk employs visual metaphors throughout Muddy: The Story of […]

Now

Last year’s Wait by Antoinette Portis was a wonderfully simple but profound paean to children’s ability to observe and take notice while adults rush rush rush everywhere and miss everything, from tiny ladybugs to glorious rainbows. This year’s Now is not all that different: it focuses on a young girl living fully in the moment as […]

The Book of Mistakes

Less a story than a book about an idea, the central message of Corinna Luyken’s debut, The Book of Mistakes, appears as paratextual coda on the back of the jacket: “Set your imagination free.” According to Caldecott criteria, the Caldecott is “not for didactic intent,” but Luyken delivers her message as a masterful celebration of […]

The Three Billy Goats Gruff

On Tuesday, Patrick Gall reminded us that here at Calling Caldecott this year we’ve looked at several minimalist picture books. That changes today with Jerry Pinkney’s The Three Billy Goats Gruff. This is the story you knew as a child — up to a certain point. In the book’s closing Artist’s Note, Pinkney writes about having […]

Tony

Did you notice that the first couple of Calling Caldecott reviews of the fall (see Egg and Big Cat, Little Cat) seem to suggest that this year’s Caldecott Medal winner could be a model of simplicity, nuance, and restraint? A quick look at recent award history, however, paints a different picture. Winning illustrators of the […]

The Schneider Report

I’m on the 2018 Caldecott Committee this year, and here’s what we like so far… …Just kidding! I can’t do that. I can’t talk about committee work, or what titles have been suggested, or what books are gaining traction, etc. But I can talk about general things that most picture book people find interesting, much […]

Wolf in the Snow

I’ve had my eye on Matthew Cordell’s Wolf in the Snow for months. Well, me and everyone else in the picture-book universe (including Betsy Bird, in this extremely articulate review. Please read it). Everything about the book says, This is something special — and that’s not a word I throw around lightly. It was published way back […]

Big Cat, Little Cat

Julie’s post this week about Egg by Kevin Henkes took me back to my own Caldecott experience when Henkes won for Kitten’s First Full Moon. Here is another book that, like Kitten’s First Full Moon, is mostly black-and-white and has minimal text. Like Henkes, Cooper’s no-frills drawing style uses deceptively simple thick black outlines. And […]