Caldecott Award Honors

Song of Robin Hood

November 22, 2020
Subheader: 

It’s pretty, but it’s not a kids’ book.

Everybody who made this put so much thought into it, and it's a beautiful book. But the 115 page book is enormous, and it shouldn't be marketed as a children's book. It's really a scholarly work.

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Message: 

It's important to preserve cultural heritage such as Robin Hood.

The Rough Patch

November 15, 2020
Subheader: 

We all go through rough patches.

It's about the death of a beloved pet, and discusses the whole cycle of grief. It's a very poignant book, very powerfully done. And the illustrations are just gorgeous, which is icing on the cake.

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Message: 

Grief takes time to work through, but you will come out the other side.

Paddle-to-the-Sea

November 1, 2020
Subheader: 

Snoozefest with decent art.

It's just really, really long, and nowadays kids don't have the patience for something quite this boring. It just makes me think of how I don't enjoy reading realistic fiction for fun because it doesn't have enough action for me. Maybe it's just me, but it's so very far from modern children's books that it seems like a stodgy distant ancestor.

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Message: 

Water from the snow eventually reaches the sea. Also, people are generally helpful.

Journey Cake, Ho!

September 27, 2020
Subheader: 

Journey Cake, Huh?

It seems like fairy tales have a strange fascination with runaway pastries. I understand why Johnny's chasing it: he's poor and hungry, and it's his to begin with. But why are all the animals so fascinated by it? They can barely tell what it is.

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Message: 

Sometimes poor children have to go make their own lives? Or, Everybody loves pastry.

Bear Came Along

October 18, 2020
Subheader: 

Bear came along. And then he went.

I know, people tell me in the comments all the time that I read too much into children's books. But I'm not sure where this one is coming from. The author's note afterwards seems to imply that it's about taking a chance and seeing what happens, and being bold, but that that's not really what's happening in the book.

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Message: 

Take a chance and see what happens?

Alma and How She Got Her Name

October 11, 2020
Subheader: 

It must be hard to initial things.

This clearly is not my culture and as a young child growing up in the culture, either she would already know the answer to this (in which case she wouldn't be asking this question) or she merits a more thorough explanation. Maybe she's supposed to be a really young kid and it's supposed to not matter.

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Message: 

Names can be something that ties you to your family history.

A Big Mooncake for Little Star

September 13, 2020
Subheader: 

Full of “quiet joy, love, and beauty”.

In and of itself, it's a really pretty story that has gorgeous illustrations. As a bonus, it's also what those in children's literature call "Own Voices", meaning that it's written about Asian people, by an Asian person. But that's icing on the cake, and the book stands on its own as a good book, with a good message.

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Message: 

Your family loves you even if you make mistakes.

The Happy Day

July 19, 2020
Subheader: 

I can’t figure out the point.

Animals do hibernate, but they don't hang out in large groups around whatever flower they can find. And I don't think anybody would argue that it's trying to be realistic in that sense. It's not trying to teach us anything scientific. It's just trying to make a silly story about animals and a flower and it's... boring. It's really boring.

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Message: 

Spring comes after winter.

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