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Winding Oak's Bookology Magazine

Tag Archives | Caldecott Medal

That Lovely Ornament, the Moon

by Jacqueline Briggs Martin and Phyllis Root

Jackie: We’ve passed the Solstice but we still have more night than day. We can watch the moon with our breakfast and with our dinner. We thought we’d celebrate this season of the moon by sharing some stories featuring that lovely ornament.

Phyllis: And Christmas Eve we saw an almost full moon casting shadows on the snow before the clouds blew in. Moonlight really is magical.

Papa Please Get the Moon For MeJackie: There’s lovely magic in Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me by Eric Carle. This book has been a favorite of mine since my days as a preschool teacher. It never fails to please the sit-on-the-rug crowd. What’s not to love? There’s Eric Carle’s wonderful moon, and a father so dedicated that he finds a “very long ladder” and takes it to “a very high mountain.” Then he climbs to the moon and waits until it’s just the right size. He brings it back and gives it to his daughter. She hugs it, jumps and dances with it—until it disappears.

The combination of fantasy and real-moon, family affection and joy is just timeless. This thirty year old story could have been written yesterday.

Kitten's First Full MoonPhyllis: In Kitten’s First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes, Kitten, too, yearns for the moon, mistaking it for a bowl of milk. “And she wanted it.” Closing her eyes and licking toward the moon only gives her a bug on her tongue, jumping at the moon ends in a tumble, and chasing the moon ends with Kitten up a tree and the moon no closer. After each attempt, the text reminds us of Kitten’s yearning: “Still, there was the little bowl of milk, just waiting.” When Kitten sees the moon’s reflection in the pond and leaps for it, she ends up tired, sad, and wet. Poor kitten! She returns home… to find a big bowl of milk on the porch, just waiting for her to lap it up.

Thirteen Moons on Turtle's BackJackie: Kittens and children and all of us are fascinated by the moon. Thirteen Moons on Turtle’s Back: a Native American Year of Moons (Penguin, 1992) by Joseph Bruchac and Jonathan London is a collection of thirteen poems about the seasons of the moon from “each of the thirteen Native American tribal nations in different regions of the continent [chosen] to give a wider sense of the many things Native American people have been taught to notice in this beautiful world around us.” The noticing is one thing I love about this book. Reading these poems makes me want to walk in the woods and see something in a new way.

Moon of Popping TreesIt feels as if we are in the season of the “Moon of Popping Trees.”

Outside the lodge
the night air is bitter cold.
Now the Frost giant walks
with his club in his hand.
When he strikes the trunks
of the cottonwood trees
we hear them crack
beneath the blow.
The people hide inside
when they hear that sound….

And that is much better than saying, “it’s cold.”

Phyllis: In “Baby Bear Moon” we learn how a small child lost in the snow was saved by sleeping all through the winter with a mother bear and her cubs. The poem concludes:

“when we walk by on our snowshoes
we will not bother a bear
or her babies. Instead
we think how those small bears
are like our children.
We let them dream together.”

Who wouldn’t want to sleep the winter away sharing dreams with bears?

Jackie: I love the poetry of this book—

“…Earth Elder
made the first tree,
a great oak with twelve branches
arching over the land.
Then, sitting down beneath it,
the sun shining bright,
Earth Elder thought
of food for the people,
and acorns began to form.”

Perhaps the best is that Bruchac and London encourage us to see more than trees and grass, to imagine a landscape, a thrumming with history, community, and the spirits of sharing.

MoonlightJackie: Moonlight by Helen V. Griffith (Greenwillow, 2012) is also a poetic text—and spare:

Rabbit hides in shadow
under cloudy skies
waiting for the moonlight
blinking sleepy eyes.

But he goes into his burrow and doesn’t see “Moonlight slides like butter/skims through outer space/skids past stars and comets/leaves a butter trace.”

What a wonderful image! “Moonlight slides like butter.” Who can look at moonlight the same again?

Phyllis: I love the spare language of this book, and I love Laura Dronzek’s luminous art as well, where moonlight really does butter every tree and slips into Rabbit’s dreams, awaking him to dance in the moonlight. So few words, but so well chosen—verbs such as skims and skids and skips and skitters. A wonderful pairing of words and art that makes me want to dance in the moonlight, too.

Owl MoonJane Yolen’s Owl Moon, which won a Caldecott for its evocative wintry art, is a story of an owl, patience, hope, and love. On a snowy night the narrator sets out to go on a long-awaited outing owling with Pa. She knows, because Pa says, that when you go owling you have to be quiet, you have to make your own heat, and you have to have hope. Their hope is finally rewarded when they spot an owl and stare into the owl’s eyes as it stare back before it flies away. The last image shows the small narrator being carried toward the lights of home by her pa. The book concludes:

When you go owling
you don’t need words
or warm
or anything but hope.
That’s what Pa says.
The kind of hope
that flies
on silent wings
under a shining
Owl Moon.

Jackie: “When you go owling/you don’t need words/or warm/ or anything but hope.” The shining moon, a light in the night, a lamp of hope that we turn into a friend in the sky. These books make me grateful for long nights.

Phyllis: And for moonlight and dreams and dancing.

 

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Authors Emeritus: Virginia Lee Burton

ph_VirginiaLeeBurtonVirginia Lee Burton was born on August 30, 1909 in Newton Centre, Massachusetts. She studied art at the California School of Fine Arts and the Boston Museum School. One of her earliest jobs was as a “sketcher” for the arts section of the Boston Transcript.

She married George Demetrios, a sculptor and her teacher at the Museum School, in 1931. They settled in Gloucester, Massachusetts, where they had two sons. “I literally draw my books first and write down the text after “I pin the sketched pages in sequence on the walls of my studio so I can see the books as a whole. Then I make a rough dummy and then the final drawings, and at last when I can put it off no longer, I type out the text and paste it in the bk_mikedummy.”

Thirteen publishers rejected her first manuscript about a dust particle, Joniffer Lint. When her three-year-old son fell asleep on her lap while she read it to him, she stopped sending it to publishers, and thereafter relied on children as her primary critics.

Her classic books have never been out of print and are currently embraced by a fourth generation of early readers. She won the 1942 Caldecott Medal for The Little House. Virginia Lee Burton died October 15, 1968.

For more information on the author, her books, and her design work, please visit Virginia Lee Burton, The Film.

 

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I Would Like to Thank…

The annual meeting of the American Library Association begins this week. The winners of the various book awards are no doubt eyeing the festivities with some trepidation because they will be presenting speeches. This has been going on since the first Newbery Award was presented in 1922. Traditionally called “Acceptance Papers,” the speeches are the bull’s-eye of events that have over the years morphed from nice little white-glove luncheons into galas.

The Bookologist has been poring over the papers from the first 50+ years of the Newbery and Caldecott awards* and thought, in celebration of the speechifying that will soon be going on in San Francisco, to share some snippets from speeches past. Enjoy.

 

*Sources:

Mahoney, Bertha Miller, and Elinor Whitney Field, eds. Newbery Medal Books, 1922-1955, with Their Author’s Acceptance Papers & Related Material Chiefly from the Horn Book Magazine. Boston: Horn Book, 1955. Print.

Mahoney, Bertha Miller, and Elinor Whitney Field, eds. Caldecott medal books, 1938-1957, with the Artist’s Acceptance Papers & Related Material Chiefly from the Horn Book Magazine. Boston: Horn Book, 1957. Print.

Kingman, Lee, ed. Newbery and Caldecott medal books, 1956-1965: with acceptance papers, biographies, and related material chiefly from the Horn book magazine. Boston: Horn Book, 1965. Print.

Kingman, Lee, ed. Newbery and Caldecott medal books, 1966-1975: with acceptance papers, biographies, and related material chiefly from the Horn book magazine. Boston: Horn Book, 1975. Print.

 

 

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Chapter & Verse picks the winners … or not

In CLN’s Chapter & Verse, with six of our bookstores reporting, we had no clear winners for our mock Caldecott, Newbery, and Printz Awards. Steve and I have visited many of these locations, talking with the book club members. Each book club has its own character. The members bring different life experiences, different reading preferences, […]

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