Thursday, March 01, 2018

786-789 (2018 #s 9-12). 2018 Caldecott Winners

When the American Library Association (ALA) announced the winners of the Randolph Caldecott Medal, which "honors the illustrator of the year's most distinguished American picture book for children" at its annual Youth Media Awards on February 9, 2018, I pulled the one honoree I'd already ordered earlier in the year (because it was a science-oriented nonfiction picture book) from the to-be-cataloged shelf at my university library.  I also went to my local public library and checked out the three picture books they had that were honorees.  I was going to write about all four together, but the book I already had deserves a post all its own.  I'll also mention the fifth honoree in this post, although I have not seen it yet.

The winner of the 2018 award was Wolf in the Snow, written and illustrated by Matthew Cordell.  The artwork for this nearly-wordless book (just a little onomatopoeia, mostly animal sounds) was created in pen and ink with watercolor.  While I like the "story," about a little child and a wolf pup both lost in a snowstorm, I'm having trouble understanding what was so remarkable about this book to make it the winner.  While the wolves are very realistic, I didn't particularly care for the rendering of the people in their weird pointed-hood coats.

The same goes for one of the Honor books, Big Cat, Little Cat, written and illustrated by Elisha Cooper.  The realistic illustrations are entirely in black-and-white, using bold black ink strokes.  This is also a very simple, sweet story, about "friendship, family, and new beginnings"...and cats.  It's good, but is it really worthy of this award?  I guess not being a cat fan doesn't help.

A Different Pond, written by Bao Phi and illustrated by Thi Bui, is an autobiographical picture book in graphic novel style.  Bui used "watercolor brushes and sumi ink" and "colored digitally" to illustrate Phi's story of a Vietnamese immigrant family's experience.  Good story, good art - but again, it just doesn't grab me.

Crown:  An Ode to the Fresh Cut, written by Derrick Barnes and illustrated by Gordon C. James, received a Caldecott Honor designation for its impressionistic oil illustrations. ALA's Ethnic and Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table (EMIERT) also gave it Coretta Scott King (CSK) Honor designations in both the author and illustroat, a Coretta Scott King honor book in both the author and illustrator categories, given each year to African American creators of books for children and young adults that "demonstrate an appreciation of African American culture and universal human values."  It was also named a John Newbery Honor Book as a distinguished contribution to American literature for children.  This picture book is about an African American boy's visit to the barber shop, and the pride and confidence his resulting hairstyle instills in him. 

So what Caldecott book did I like best?  See the next post for that.

© Amanda Pape - 2018

[The first three books were borrowed from and returned to my local public library.]

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