Caldecott Award Honors

Strega Nona

August 22, 2018
Subheader: 

More like, "Underneath spaghetti."

So he disobeys her, but she doesn't punish him cruelly for it. His "crime" doesn't deserve death. The only person he really wronged in this case is Strega Nona, because it was her pot.

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Message: 

Don't be vindictive. Or, don't take things without permission.

Rumpelstiltskin

August 21, 2018
Subheader: 

I wish this fairy tale would never be heard from again.

How she planned on keeping up this charade isn't discussed. Sure, the king happens to stop at three rooms full of gold for unknown reasons, but what if he had continued? What horrible things would the miller's daughter be forced to trade away?

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Message: 

Life sucks unless you're the one in charge (especially if you're a woman). Good luck, you'll need it to escape the capricious whims of the powerful.

The Spider and the Fly

August 6, 2018
Subheader: 

"Will you walk a little faster?" Said a whiting to a snail. "There's a porpoise close behind us, and he's treading on my tail."

Like the spider says, it's not a twist ending. Nowadays, we don't expect the endings of kids' stories to be quite as dark. Evil wins. One of the main characters is devoured by the other. In retrospect, horror is an obvious motif.

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Message: 

Beware of people who try to flatter you to trick you into doing things.

Creepy Carrots!

July 7, 2018
Subheader: 

Well, they're creeping, so I guess the title is accurate.

I'm honestly not sure what this book is trying to say. Maybe it's just trying to be a "scary" book without being a scary book. Like, funny-scary? It's just that the premise falls apart if you think about it for more than five minutes.

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Message: 

Don't eat carrots. Or, if you think you're being stalked by sentient vegetables, you probably are.

Madeline

July 25, 2018
Subheader: 

Not sure how this book kicked off a series. Not enough to read in 1939?

It's more annoying than anything else. It doesn't do anything for me. It's not imparting any knowledge to me. It's not interesting. It's just fairly mediocre, and the art is not very well done in my opinion.

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Message: 

Appendicitis is fun!

Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins

July 21, 2018
Subheader: 

Because when I think of goblins, I think of Hanukkah.

For all its talk about the power of the menorah, almost all the references to Hanukkah could really be swapped out with any kind of magical system and the story would be basically the same. When I teach my children about Hanukkah, I'll use a different method, because I prefer to stick to the facts of a culture. If this was like a traditional Jewish folktale, that might be different.

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Message: 

Goblins are easy to fool. Or, Hanukkah is totally awesome.

Outside Over There

July 13, 2018
Subheader: 

These goblins and their weddings, amirite?

I really liked the relationship--the tenderness and compassion--from the older sister to the younger sister. Dealing with babies is hard. The mother's clearly mentally checked-out already.

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Message: 

Take responsibility for your actions.

Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters: An African Tale

July 11, 2018
Subheader: 

You're a nice person. Here, have a prince.

Why does nobody else tell Mufaro, "Hey, Manyara is a jerk"? Or is she only a jerk to Nyasha? The summary says "Everyone--except Mufaro--knew that Manyara was selfish, bad-tempered, and spoiled." How does he not know? I guess she's clever enough to hide how much of a jerk she is.

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Message: 

Be kind, and you'll be rewarded.

King Bidgood's in the Bathtub

May 30, 2018
Subheader: 

Who's in the what now?

The book seems like it would function as wish fulfillment for a child listener. When mommy says, "It's time to get out of the tub, we have to go eat," maybe the kid wonders, "Why can't we eat in the tub? If I was the boss, we would eat in the tub. You'd listen to me if I was the king."

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Message: 

Baths can be fun. Or, it would be awesome if you could do whatever you wanted to do, but eventually you probably should face up to reality.

Hosie's Alphabet

April 28, 2018
Subheader: 

Unusual is not necessarily good.

This is a weird book. I guess it's for people who are fans of the illustrator, Leonard Baskin. He has a very distinctive style and it's different from most other children's books.

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Message: 

None, just an alphabet book.

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