I’m probably coming a little late to the party for this particular author and illustrator, but my only exposure to him as a child that I recall is Make Way for Ducklings. It is certainly a charming book in its own right (not to mention that it’s a Caldecott Medal winner!), but I must’ve been a little too old (or something?) for it to make a huge impression on me. (Either that, or now I’m reverting back to my second childhood.) When I discovered One Morning in Maine, I positively fell in love. I’m not sure what it is about this book–the relationship we’ve already established with the younger Sal through Blueberries for Sal, the fact that my girls are just about the age that Sal is in One Morning in Maine, or just the simple fact that this somewhat lengthy picture book has so many interesting details about life in coastal Maine. (An island, even!) Sal’s delight over losing a tooth; her consternation over losing (as in misplacing) that tooth while going clam digging with her father; and her fastidious care for her little sister while they travel by boat across the bay to do some shopping are just perfect–McCloskey really nailed the age, I think. This one’s definitely going on my Best Picture Books list.
I was interested to note that McCloskey only wrote eight books. To quote Eleanor Blau, the author of McCloskey’s NY Times obituary, “It had to be right, and it often was.” My girls and I have also enjoyed Time of Wonder, another book for which McCloskey won the Caldecott Medal. It didn’t grab me quite as much as One Morning in Maine, but it also doesn’t have such an endearing heroine. I also think I prefer the black-and-white illustrations of his earlier works over the color ones in Time of Wonder.
I would really like to read McCloskey’s Homer Price and its sequel, Centerburg Tales: More Adventures of Homer Price. His obituary states that these are full of tall tales; I’m not sure if this means they are tall tales or if they contain tall tales. Something I’ve read before about them makes me think the latter. Has anyone read these?