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Beginning Readers and the Caldecott

cookie-fiasco

Beginning readers aren’t awarded Caldecott Medals or Honors. Not really. Arnold Lobel did win a Caldecott Honor way back in 1971 for Frog and Toad Are Friends, and the past ten years have seen Caldecott recognition of picture books that also function as beginning readers: Kevin Henkes’s Waiting (2016); Jon Klassen’s This Is Not My Hat (2013); Laura Vaccaro […]

Excellent Ed

excellent-ed

In Excellent Ed, a dog longs for confirmation that he is special and important to his family. Each of the Ellis children are gifted at one thing or another, and Ed wants to know what he contributes to the group. He knows he is good at “forgetting stuff” and “losing stuff,” but is that enough […]

Flora and the Peacocks

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Oh, how I love Flora and the Flamingo, the first Flora book by Molly Idle, published in 2013. Those amazing flaps, like nothing we’d seen; the gracefulness of the illustrations, with infusions of humor; the lyricism of the story, without using any words. I was thrilled when it won a Caldecott Honor (and as we learned […]

Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn

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As I write this, we’re having the first snow of the season in Chicago. My kids could not wait to go outside. They ran back and forth, trying to catch snowflakes on their tongue. They asked when they would be able to have a snowball fight and when we could go sledding. Like most adults […]

Henry & Leo

Henry & Leo

Those of us who look at lots and lots of new children’s books see a lot of familiar plots and art styles that resemble one classic or another in some way. Whenever I see a book that is fresh and unlike anything I’ve seen before, I celebrate. That’s all very well, but I need to remember […]

Leave Me Alone!

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Leave Me Alone! has everything necessary for a great picture book: a frustrated main character, epic adventure, and derpy goats. A book with derpy yarn-eating goats may be being considered for the Caldecott Medal, and I’m pretty thrilled about it. This is cartoonist Vera Brosgol’s first picture book, and though I’ve heard great things about […]

Time to share your mock award results

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When the teachers in my children’s lit class completed their mock awards last week (three Caldecott committees plus a Sibert and a Geisel), I encouraged them to hold mock Caldecotts with their own students when they are back in the classroom. I also shared the best incentive I’ve found: Colby Sharp’s 24-second video of his […]

A list of great 2016 picture books

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Blogger (and Horn Book reviewer and Calling Caldecott poster) Minh Lê has just released his annual list of best picture books, sorted into his own unique categories. His lists are always terrific; this year especially! Check it out here.    

The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles

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This is not my kind of picture book. The story is too wispy for me, the language occasionally too twee, and the premise . . . well, I just don’t buy it. But one of the things committee members must do for an award like the Caldecott (or even a mock Caldecott!) is put aside their own personal likes […]

March: Book Three

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I know that my anticipation for March: Book Three, the final book in John Lewis’s trilogy, matched that of everyone who read the first two graphic novels chronicling the U.S. Civil Rights Movement. Obviously, the National Book Award committee felt the same excitement, as it was awarded the Young People’s Literature award a few weeks ago. The […]