Caldecott Award Honors

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

Umbrella

February 25, 2018
Subheader: 

The umbrella is the last component of the ghastly ritual.

Every time you can see her face, pretty much all you can see is these solid black eyes, with a little bit of eyelash at the edge. Like this girl has been possessed by demons. I just do not care for the art style of this artist, and the story uses far too many words to tell this completely trivial story.

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Message: 

Umbrellas can only be used on rainy days. Or, umbrellas are awesome.

Extra Yarn

December 26, 2017
Subheader: 

Maybe she should learn to crochet or something.

It's pretty. It's fairly innocuous. It's just a weird book. It doesn't go anywhere. There's no reason for her to be making these things. There's no impetus for it, and the only conflict resolves itself. I guess the message is, "Don't steal things." I don't think most people nowadays need to be taught that.

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Message: 

Don't steal things. Or, trucks need sweaters, too.

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