Horn Book reviews of Caldecott Medal winners, 1938-1939

Animals of the Bible, a Picture Book by Dorothy Lathrop

Below are original Horn Book Magazine reviews of Caldecott Medal winners from the inaugural 1938 award to 1939. 1938 DOROTHY LATHROP Animals of the Bible, A Picture Book (Stokes) Twenty-seven pictures presenting the Creation, Noah’s Ark, Abraham’s ram, Daniel’s lions, Jonah’s great fish, the Good Samaritan’s beast, the Prodigal Son’s pigs and many others less […]

Thomas Handforth’s “Mei Li”

Mei Li

reviewed by Elizabeth Coatsworth No picture book of the year is more beautiful than Mei Li, the story of the adventure of a little Chinese girl going with her brother to the nearby town to see the winter fair, and returning by camel to their farm in time to welcome the arrival of the Kitchen […]

Tribute to an Artist-Wanderer

Thomas Handforth

by Louise Seaman Bechtel In the late twenties and early thirties, a happy brew was stirring in the children’s book field; much of its spice and a good deal of the steam of the cooking came from the number of artists from all over the world who contributed to its bookmaking. The artists as well […]

The Story of “Mei Li”*

Mei Li

by Thomas Handforth *A paper read at the Newbery-Caldecott dinner at the Sixty-first Annual Conference of the American Library Association meeting in San Francisco. This paper and the one following, “Personal Progress Toward the Orient,” are published for their permanent value in place of the informal remarks made by Mr. Handforth as he accepted the […]

Editorial: Cultural Currency

Roger Sutton

I was late for work, walking down the street to my subway stop. The trash collectors had come and gone, leaving the narrow sidewalk strewn with empty plastic barrels, upright, sideways, rolling about. Coming the other way up the walk were two tough-looking UPS ladies, and I stepped aside to let them pass. No need […]

American Picture Books from Max’s Metaphorical Monsters to Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse

The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter

In the course of the last thirty years or so, American picture books have become a mainstay of American life — and items of merchandise — without altogether extinguishing the individual creative voice. They have also ceased to be, in any defining way, American. Until very recently, children in Western societies teethed on nursery rhymes, […]

To Get a Little More of the Picture: Reviewing Picture Books

Snow White trans. by Randall Jarrell

“It is only in childhood that books have any deep influence on our lives.” — Graham Greene “Any book which is at all important should be reread immediately.” — Schopenhauer The management has suggested that I review picture book reviewing. “Feel free to rant about its sorry state.” I also feel wary, as I did […]

An Interview with Walter Lorraine

biggest bear

The multifaceted Walter Lorraine was a designer and art director at Houghton Mifflin before being named Director of Children’s Books, a position he held from 1965–1995. He now heads his own imprint, Walter Lorraine Books. Leonard S. Marcus: How did you get started in publishing? Walter Lorraine: As a student at the Rhode Island School […]

Following in Their Fathers’ Paths

steptoe_mufaro's beautiful daughters

When you follow in the path of your father, you learn to walk like him. — Ashanti proverb (from In Daddy’s Arms I Am Tall) In the late 1960s, modern African-American literature for children was just coming into its own. For some of us, the 1967 publication of Virginia Hamilton’s Zeely was a turning point, […]

Making Picture Books: The Words

zolotow_my grandson lew

The beginning of a picture book comes before the pictures. In Margaret Wise Brown’s beautiful Goodnight Moon, it was the magic of her words, their simplicity and the music in them, that made Clement Hurd’s now-famous visual interpretation possible. Unless the writer is also an illustrator, the writing always comes first. Many fine writers can […]