Caldecott Award Winner

Everybody can have fun in the snow.

Nothing bad here, but nothing great. Groundbreaking for its time, but it didn't hold my attention at all. It's well-written and well-illustrated, but the story is pretty boring.


Playing in the snow is fun.

A horse is a horse, of course, of course, except if it used to be an Indian girl.

It falls kind of in the low end of "meh." I'd kind of be annoyed if people were reading this to my kids, but I wouldn't stop them. I don't think that children actually get the idea that they should run away and live with horses.


Respect animals?

A decent introduction to street art.

The book doesn't really talk about mental illness much, and the story part of the book also doesn't mention that Basquiat died at age 27 from a drug overdose. The reality is that he died quite young and was addicted to drugs, so his story was a bit more tragic than this children's book accounts for.


Jean-Michel Basquiat had a very interesting life.

Seriously, Mr. Klassen, what is it with the hats?

The main character is a jerk, and the main character gets karma. Maybe children like this kind of sociopathic protagonist and the ensuing comeuppance.


It's wrong to steal a hat.

I don't know why you say goodbye window, I say hello window.

There's no real story, just a series of events that happen when she visits her grandparents. It's kind of boring. I'm really not sure how something this banal came from the same author as The Phantom Tollbooth and The Dot and the Line, both fascinatingly weird stories.


It's fun to hang out with your grandparents.

When King Daddy promises the moon, he delivers.

It's kind of bad in that it turns out that none of them are really correct about the moon. It is super big and super far away, and they couldn't have really gotten it for him, but I think the real message is that everybody's opinion is equally important, even children.


Try to understand things from others' point of view.

“Ladies and Gentlemen: The Beekles!”

It speaks to the shy little introvert in everyone, and talks about having the courage to do things that are difficult and that nobody else has ever done.


Everybody deserves to have a friend.

An apple in time saves before you leap.

The crocodiles are living in a house with wallpaper that is integral to the story. There's a baboon with an umbrella. Since the traditional Aesop's fables take place in ancient Greece, these are an interesting update to the formula. It's nontraditional to have camels wanting to be ballerinas.


Multiple messages, one per story.

In the absence of their dumpling maker, they formed the Plastic Oni Band.

It's very weird. It feels like it should have a moral, but I can't find one. She claims early on to not be afraid of the oni, but when they're chasing her it says that she's frightened, so it's not like she's fearless. I guess she's brave because she perseveres despite her fear.


Be brave.

Tuesday... afternoon...

It's silly and rather surreal, with pretty pictures. There's not much to it beyond a lovely flight of imagination, and an implication that we're witnessing the beginnings of something truly unusual.