I’ve been picking up lots of Caldecott winners, both medalists and honor books, every time I’ve been to the library lately. Admittedly, the 5 Minutes for Books Children’s Classics Award Winners meme is a big motivator–I love participating in these community events. However, my admiration for artwork in children’s books started way before I became a book blogger, so I can’t blame this particular obsession entirely on the internet. 😉 I’ve also been determined to add “fun reads” (because everything else we read isn’t fun– 😉 –I kid, I kid!) back to our days, and these Caldecotts have been a great way for me to intentionally do this. Today I’m highlighting a copule of Caldecott medalists, one from 1984 and one from 1948.
I can thank the internet and specifically one of my best bloggy buddies, Janet, for creating a need in me to see this particular book. Janet wrote about Saint George and the Dragon in one of her fabulous Read Aloud Thursday posts a few months back, and I made a mental note to borrow this book from the library soon. I found it, added it to the already groaning stack of picture books my little book cart contained, and brought it home. My girls and I devoured it on Tuesday morning this week. When I say devour, I mean devour–with our eyes and our hearts. The author, Margaret Hodges, borrowed this story from Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queen, which I barely remember scratching the surface of in an undergraduate English class. It’s the story of Saint George, the knight who becomes the champion of the princess Una by fighting and slaying the dragon that torments her people. The story is phenomenal–very exciting and suspenseful. Of course, Trina Schart Hyman‘s illustrations are the other indispensible part of the combination that makes this such a gorgeous retelling. I love the that fact Hyman so beautifully illustrated the growth in Saint George–from a young man of unknown parentage in the beginning of the story to the stately future king at the end of the story. Reading this makes me wish I had paid more attention in college (or gotten that classical education myself I’m attempting to give my children 😉 ). This book would appeal to story-lovers of any age or gender. Highly Recommended!
Song of the Swallows is a book that was published the year my mother was born, a fact that amazed and amused my girls. 🙂 It is both written and illustrated by Leo Politi. Song of the Swallows is the story of a young man named Juan who visits the Mission of San Juan Capistrano. From the gardener there he learns about the swallows and their migration to and from the town. Juan even creates his own garden at his home in order to lure some swallows to his own home, and of course, it works! This story is rather detailed, and it even contains two songs, complete with their musical scores. (I was surprised that Lulu didn’t want to take the book away immediately and try to play the songs. 🙂 ) The illustrations, as one would expect, have an old-timey feel to them. Politi was obviously an accomplished artist, but his illustrations remind me of what a child might paint, only better. In other words, in this world of so many computer-generated illustrations, this book looks refreshingly homemade. While I can’t say I (or my girls, for that matter) really got the story, I’m glad we read it for two reasons: one, because I don’t think my girls have ever heard of the swallows of Capistrano before, and now they have; and two, it’s nice to see a book illustrated in a way that almost anyone could attempt.
We had several more Caldecotts in our library basket this week, but I’m hoping to write up several of them in an author/illustrator spotlight post (I haven’t done one of those in a while!). We’re also still plugging away at Pinky Pye, but we should be able to put a wrap on it today and move onto something else. (Of course, I’ll write up this book–it’s so much fun!–for a future Read Aloud Thursday post. Of course!) I’m thinking after Pinky Pye we’ll move on to another Betsy-Tacy book for the Maud Hart Lovelace Reading Challenge at A Library Is the Hospital of the Mind.
What is your family enjoying these days? Link up below!