Viva Frida

Viva Frida

Have you all seen Viva Frida by Yuyi Morales yet? If you have, I think you will agree that THIS book will be getting a lot of consideration by the real Caldecott committee. Not just because it’s beautiful, but there is so much to discuss and wonder about. Then there is the medium. For me, […]

Gaston

gaston

I hate missing the Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards Ceremony and next-day Symposium for a lot of reasons. Besides getting to see everyone I already know, I love hearing the speeches by people I don’t know (but would like to). One new person whom I would have loved hearing is Christian Robinson, illustrator of Josephine and The Smallest Girl […]

Josephine

josephine

The subtitle of Patricia Hruby Powell (author) and Christian Robinson (illustrator)’s fabulous picture-book biography of the early-twentieth-century African American dancer and iconoclast is “The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker” — and the book is truly as dazzling as its subject. So we can get that major, crucial criterion “appropriateness of style of illustration to the story, theme or concept” […]

Sequels, schmequels

flora penguin

So, as I cast my eyes across my shelf,  I wonder: what in the world is the committee going to do with all the picture-book sequels that have been pouring in?! Now, picture books usually do not have sequels, and some of these are not officially sequels but are simply very similar in style or […]

My Bus

My Bus

In my opinion, My Bus (a companion book to Byron Barton’s My Car) is a perfect preschool book. But is it too simple to get a Caldecott award? First we meet Joe, the bus driver. “I am Joe. This is my car. This is my bus.” As he drives his bus into town, five dogs and […]

Separate Is Never Equal (or how to find out more about a book)

Separate Is Never Equal

I’m going to stop using so many words (as I am well aware of their soporific powers) and try to be brief. I am also including a ton of links, so hang on tight! During our last conversation, Martha brought up a point about art that comes from other places and cultures that we may […]

What *about* those Caldecott criteria?

Last week, Robin reminded us how crucial it is to keep the Caldecott criteria in mind as we examine this year’s picture books. We all know that the Caldecott rules and criteria are paramount and inviolable, and for decades committees have obsessively wrestled with the meanings and nuances of “excellence of execution in the artistic technique employed”; […]

The Pilot and the Little Prince

sis_pilot and the little prince

This is a hard post to write. I love Peter Sis’s work, and his latest book, The Pilot and the Little Prince, is getting lots of starred reviews, but I’m having trouble jumping on that bandwagon. Most of my issues with this book wouldn’t fly in a real Caldecott committee discussion. The art is gorgeous and […]

Firefly July: A Year of Very Short Poems

janeczko_firefly july2

Before we start chatting about specific 2014 picture books, take a moment to read the Caldecott criteria. They’re posted over there on the right, but I will help you find the important parts. Here they are, in part: In identifying a “distinguished American picture book for children,” defined as illustration, committee members need to consider: […]

#we need diverse (picture) books

little melba

Of course we do. Last year’s amazing crop of picture books included those illustrated by artists of color such as Yuyi Morales, Brian Pinkney, Jerry Pinkney, Angela Dominguez, Bryan Collier, Don Tate, and Kadir Nelson. This year we will see picture books illustrated by Christian Robinson (two of ‘em), Yuyi Morales, Raul Colon, Duncan Tonatiuh, Jason Chin, Susan […]