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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