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.
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
Thirty years ago, I bought a poster of “Jungle Tales” by J.J. Shannon (1895) at the Met in New York City. I took it to my favorite framer, but when it was ready, I was horrified to see they’d cut off Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Children’s Bookshop at the bottom, framing just the image. No one thought the words were important.… more
In this interview with Jennifer A. Bell, illustrator of many endearing books, we’ve asked about the process of illustrating Little Cat’s Luck, our Bookstorm™ this month, written for second, third, and fourth graders as a read-aloud or individual reading books.Jennifer was also the illustrator for Marion Dane Bauer’s earlier novel-in-verse, Little Dog, Lost. What media and tools did you use to create the soft illustrations in Little Cat’s Luck?… more
How did you learn about paleoartists? While I was working on my book Lucy Long Ago, part of that research revealed the work of a paleoartist who reconstructed living creatures from paleo times based on fossil evidence, including the hominid, Lucy. How did you decide which paleoartists to contact? I researched the world's top paleoartists—as defined by the paleontologists and paleoartists themselves.… more