We are once again joining the meme hosted by Jen and Kellee from Teach Mentor Texts (and brainchild of Sheila at BookJourney). Our participation in this meme is actually inspired by our blogger-friends Linda from Teacher Dance and Tara from A Teaching Life.

[Fairly] Recent Newbery Honor Titles: 1992, 2000, 2008

Now these titles may be familiar to most of you as one of the GatheringBooks ladies, the lovely Fats Suela has already reviewed Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold (Caldecott Honor, 1992) as well as Henry’s Freedom Box by Ellen Levine and Kadir Nelson (Caldecott Honor, 2008) for Nonfiction Monday. Inspired by her glowing reviews of this book, I made sure that I have copies of the said books for me to enjoy as well. I have also been reading a lot of lovely reviews from fellow booklovers about Dav Pilkey’s The Paperboy (Caldecott Honor, 1997). I won’t say much about the book since I’m thinking of doing a full review on it. I was even thinking of doing a bimonthly special devoted to ‘Little Grown-ups’ or kids who have old souls by virtue of life circumstances.

Caldecott Honor Classics [mix of old and not-so-old]: 1947, 1963, 1972, 1989

Compared to the fairly recent titles above, these ones may be termed as ‘classics’ as you can see from the range of publication dates here.

The Boats on the River

Story By: Marjorie Flack
Illustrated by: Jay Hyde Barnum
PublisherViking Penguin, a division of Penguin Books, 1946
Bought my own copy of the book.

This picture book is a good companion book to curriculum materials or textbooks that teach vehicles or water transportation. The illustrations are lifelike and the young reader gets introduced to the ferryboat, the river boat, an ocean liner, a tug boat, motorboat, sailboat, rowboat, freightboat, submarine, warship – among others. The match of simple text with muted-yet-still-colorful drawings would serve to empower the young reader to make his or her own distinctions among the variety of water vehicles. I, myself, did not know the difference of one from the other – and this is a fun way through which that knowledge can be introduced to young kids.

Mr. Rabbit and the Lovely Present

Story By: Charlotte Zolotow
Illustrated by: Maurice Sendak
PublisherHarper Collins Publishers, 1962.
Bought my own copy of the book.

I bought this book as I wanted to see what a collaboration between Charlotte Zolotow and Maurice Sendak would be like. This picture book was published in 1962, and as such one could see the beginnings of Sendak’s distinctive artistic style. While I would say that this is not one of my favorite Sendak books, it is extremely interesting to see an artist’s earlier work as the reader attempts to make an educated comparison with his subsequent, more popular materials. The narrative is likewise reminiscent of the more recent Dora the Explorer as it follows a pattern of repetition with a clear formula as to how the dialogue between the two main protagonists would flow from one to the next – quite singsong like, really. An astute child would find it amusing to fill in the blanks, and there is comfort in being able to predict what would happen next: similar to how the world makes sense in the eyes of a young child.

Hildilid’s Night

Story By: Cheli Durán Ryan
Illustrated by: Arnold Lobel
PublisherMacmillan Publishing Company, 1971
Bought my own copy of the book.

This is an absolute favorite. I have always always loved the Lobels and Arnold’s unique line-art and trademark style of illustrating. While this is my first time to read a narrative written by Cheli Duran Ryan, I have fallen in love with her lyrical prose – very poetic in its translucent imageries that would leave quiet echoes in one’s sensibilities.

Hildilid lives in the high hills near Hexham and she hated “moths and stars and shadows and sleep” all because she loathes the night. She spends the entire evening chasing the night away: from sweeping it out of her hut and over the hills of Hexham, to cramming the night into a sack, and shearing it like a sheep from the clouds in the skies. Lobel’s black-and-white illustrations are a perfect match to the whimsical yet powerfully-allegorical message of a woman who spends her entire life being consumed by her hatred of the night that she fails to enjoy the morning sun. While a lot of young kids would find it amusing and delight in the absurdity of transforming the concept of the ‘night’ into a concrete physical object that can be wolfed down by a hound or tucked into a bed (as it struggles to escape from the mattress) – older readers can use it as a metaphor for the ‘night’ that wraps us in its embrace. A great reminder for adults that we are not only defined by the things we love but also by the things we hate.

Goldilocks and the Three Bears

Retold and Illustrated by: James Marshall
Publisher: Scholastic Inc., 1988
Bought my own copy of the book.

I first learned about James Marshall through his classic picture book Miss Nelson is Missing (which I reviewed here) with Henry Allard. And so it is with excitement that I picked up a Caldecott Honor book as retold and illustrated by the same artist/illustrator: Goldilocks and the three bears. We have a special fascination here at GatheringBooks with fractured fairy tales and I thought that this was a quirky retelling of the old classic. For those who are expecting twists and turns or differently-angled perspectives from the age-old tale, you might be a tad disappointed. It is a straightforward retelling complete with the lumpy chair, the cold porridge and the ‘just-right’ bed of Baby Bear. The only thing that made it special for me was enjoying Marshall’s colorful illustrations. I am also intrigued to know more about Marshall after I have read Leonard’s interview with him in Show Me a StoryApparently, Marshall is a self-taught artist, and he seems to be a pretty interesting fellow too.

Currently Reading…

I am halfway through A Storm of Swords by George RR Martin, and I am blown away by the epic grandeur of this series. The scope and range are just… awe-inspiring. The meticulous attention to detail, the way that the narrative flows such that each of the multitude of characters come alive – it’s amazing. I would so love to meet Martin’s editor, as I’m sure it’s a hell of a time editing a 900++paged manuscript. I am also enjoying Sid Fleischman’s Newbery medalist book The Whipping Boy as we haven’t made much headway yet with our Newbery Medal reading challenge. We’re hoping to do more Newbery Medal reviews in the coming months.

How about you, dear friends, what have you been reading this week?

AWB Reading Challenge Update: 89-92 (35)

Caldecott Challenge Update: 20-23 of 24

PictureBook Challenge Update: 97-100 of 120

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

16 comments on “It’s Monday, What are you Reading, Feast of Caldecott Honor Titles: 1947, 1963, 1972, 1989, 1992, 1997, 2008

  1. Lots of great books here from the Caldecott list, Myra. I have loved James Marshall for his George and Martha series, probably because my own kids loved them. I don’t know the Goldilocks one-will look for it. I like Zolotow-she is as quirky as Sendak so that book is one I like, although I don’t share it much. Maybe I should look at it again. I adore Tar Beach & The Paperboy-lovely stories. Thanks again for all & the shout out!


  2. shelleyrae @ Book'd Out

    I do plan on trying Martin’s epic series eventually but it won’t be any time soon I must admit

    Enjoy your reads,
    Shelleyrae @ Book’d Out


  3. It’s interesting to try to guess the date of publication by the cover of the book. Odd how styles do follow a trend.


  4. I love the idea of reading the Caldecott Honor Books. First I’ve heard of this challenge. Thank you for sharing!

    Here’s my It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? I hope you will stop by!


  5. When we weeded the school library book collection in August, we played the “guess the publication year based on the cover” game. It’s amazing that you can often place a book within a certain decade just by the cover!


  6. I think that’s a great idea of reading all of the Caldecotts!! I find myself gravitating towards them when I’m recommending books to the kiddos at my library.

    Have a wonderful reading week 🙂
    Whatcha readin’ this week @ the Brunette Librarian 🙂


  7. I really loved Hildilid’s Night when I read through the Caldecotts too. It’s such a fun book, although I think I enjoyed reading all the books you mentioned to varying degrees!


  8. Hildilid’s Night is a new one for me, Myra – he was a big favorite with my own children many years ago. Mr. Rabbit was such a favorite, too – your books bring back great memories of reading with my little ones!


  9. These are all such favorites, aren’t they? I love to go back and read the past winners. It really is a look at the past in a way. Thanks for reminding me of these great books


  10. I still haven’t gotten into the Martin series, but everyone raves about it.


  11. Tar Beach is so beautifully illustrated, and I enjoyed Henry’s Freedom Box as well. Both good multicultural additions to the classroom. I’m interested to read Mr. Rabbit now, too. Like you, the combination of Zolotow and Sendak intrigues me.


  12. I remember liking Boats on the River when I was little. It must have been my Mom’s copy. My favorite book this week was the audio of Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer. Please come see what I’m reading now.


  13. I’ve been wanting to read the Caldecott Classics especially Mr. Rabbit and the Lovely Present.


  14. Henry’s Freedom Box has been popular where I work. Also, I couldn’t get into George R.R. Martin’s series because my favorite characters kept getting killed. Yet I would recommend it since it’s such a real world he created.


  15. An interesting mix of reads. Enjoy them all.


  16. Pingback: Reading in September: A Round Up and AWB Reading Challenge «

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