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 are more about the art than the story” (p.… more
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 selected Caldecott Medal and Honor books.… more
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 tabby on the front jacket cover are matched with photographs of the real Hondo and Fabian on the back jacket flap.… more
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 in most of his illustrations, and they added to the frolicking fun that animated his scenes.… more
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