The Farmer and the Clown

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Things are beginning to heat up. Mock Caldecotts are being decided; best-of-year lists continue to be released; over at Fuse #8, Betsy Bird has made her final predictions. It’s time to talk about a book that’s been one of my favorites all fall: Marla Frazee’s The Farmer and the Clown. I find it difficult not […]

All Different Now: Juneteenth, the First Day of Freedom

all different now

 I have written about and talked about this book a lot elsewhere, so it seems time to put my finger on why the Caldecott committee should take a close look at All Different Now. Before I start, I want to dispel a myth I hear a lot. It goes something like this: this is really […]

Buried Sunlight

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Full disclosure: Molly Bang is one of those children’s-book people I’ve gotten to know a bit. Not so well that, as Robin puts it, she is likely to look me up on Facebook to see if I’m over the flu. But she’s visited my class a few times, we’ve corresponded by email, and I’ve visited […]

Your nominations, please

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At just about this time  of year, the Real Caldecott Committee members are wrapping up their nominations. At the Midwinter meetings, they will discuss only the titles that have been nominated. To clarify, members may suggest many titles throughout the year (and everyone on the committee needs to read all suggested books in their entirety) […]

Winter Bees and Other Poems of the Cold

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Baby, it’s cold outside. Time to look at this very wintry book. Taking it from the top… We notice the arresting cover: the leaping fox; the contrast between the fox’s red coat /dark paws and the white, snowy background; the overlay of snow in the air. Open the book to see endpapers the color of […]

We’re golden

2014 Calling Caldecott books

I think we’d all agree that last year was a remarkable year for picture books. And that last year was SO spectacular, SO impressive, that this year might have felt a little…flat. I’ve even caught myself feeling kind of bad for the current Caldecott committee — 2013 would be a tough act to follow. But this week, here at The Horn Book, we finalized […]

A Letter for Leo

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I have been looking forward to this book since I (and my class of second graders) fell in love with Sergio Ruzzier’s Have You Seen My New Blue Socks? last year. Let’s take a look at it the way I learned to do on the Caldecott committee. I like to savor a book when I […]

Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas

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Since Brian Floca won the Caldecott last year for Locomotive, you can bet this year’s committee will be taking a look at his 2014 picture book. Written by long-distance swimmer Lynne Cox, this is a factual account of a particularly incorrigible elephant seal and the Christchurch, New Zealand, community that eventually made way for her. […]

The Hug Machine: a guest post by Thom Barthelmess

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My choice for Caldecott 2015 consideration is Scott Campbell’s delightful, infectious, and secretly sophisticated Hug Machine. This is the kind of book that is easy to miss because it is disguised as a romp. It doesn’t pretend to be serious, and so doesn’t signal our serious attention. It’s up to us to apply that attention. […]

The Baby Tree

The Baby Tree

Sophie Blackall’s The Baby Tree was named to the NYT Best Illustrated List this year. Last year Blackall wowed us with her innovative, almost-3D pictures for The Mighty Lalouche — which fact is of course irrelevant to this discussion, since books from previous years are absolutely not allowed on the Caldecott table, literally or figuratively. But one […]