Caldecott Lines of Connection
Traditionally, alphabet books, or abecedaria, serve as beginning literacy instruction for babies and young children to promote letter, sound, and word development. But, greater potential than instruction exists in this form of picture books.
In the second part of our Transportation series, we look at Caldecott Award books that consider trains from different vantage points, from the outside or inside, from a real or fantastical world. Climb aboard!
From an early age, children are captivated by “things that go,” from climbing on trucks in a Big Rig library event to racing bicycles along a park path. This article offers a line-up of Caldecott Award books that feature various modes of land transportation.
In picture books, the illustrations often carry half, or more than half, of the narrative. Increased understanding of illustration techniques can enhance your appreciation and pleasure when reading and sharing picture books.
In Part 2 of Geography, we take a look at Caldecott winning and honored books with settings in Europe. Recognizable landmarks are among the illustrations in these books, giving a strong connection to location.
Many picture books have anonymous settings, but some include authentic landmarks identifying locations that can be pinpointed on a map. Traveling from west coast to east coast, several Caldecott Award books feature settings in the United States, and we can become armchair travelers through the illustrations.
When considering picture book biographies of visual artists, one cannot overlook the three illustrators who have garnered Caldecott Honors for their autobiographical works: Bill Peet, Uri Shulevitz, and Peter Sis.
With declining funding for arts education in schools1,2 and limited opportunities for school-sponsored class visits to art museums, Caldecott Award-winning picture books invite children to explore various media and styles of art deemed “distinguished.”3 Indeed, as professor of English and children’s literature specialist Philip Nel observes, “Good picture books are portable art galleries.”4 A number
Trina Schart Hyman’s retelling of “Little Red Riding Hood” is a familiar one. This was Hyman’s favorite fairy tale, and as a child, she spent a whole year wearing the red cape her mother made for her. On the verso of the title page, Little Red is reading her own story featuring the cover of Hyman’s book, sucking her thumb, just as Hyman did in childhood.
The universal appeal of fairy tales is documented by the similarities of stories across countries, cultures and centuries. The “Cinderella” story alone is over 1000 years old with over 1000 varients. What makes an individual picture book version of a fairy tale unique? The illustrations. Jane Yolen (2004) states, “Many of the picture-book retellings of folktales
Fictional Caldecott grandparents reveal interesting and surprising personalities. While the stories are imaginary, some of the characters are inspired by admired grandparents and mentors.
The typical post-World War II nuclear family was sidelined during the political and societal turmoil of the 1960s. Due to divorce, remarriage, and blended families, the 21st century has seen an increasing number of grandparents involved in their grandchildren’s lives. To celebrate Grandparents Day in September, this article examines the portrayal of grandparents and great-grandparents in
Peter McCarty doesn’t just include his dog, but also his cat in Hondo and Fabian, a 2003 Caldecott Honor book. This story describes a day in the life of his pets. Hondo goes to the beach while Fabian stays home, but both have a good time. The soft pencil illustrations of the yellow Labrador retriever and the gray
It is almost guaranteed that children will respond favorably to animal stories, especially stories with dogs and cats. Two-thirds of American households own dogs or cats. Nineteenth century British illustrator Randolph Caldecott seemed to understand the natural affinity between children and animals. Before science documented the importance of pets in children’s lives, he included animals