Children's Books discussion

37 views
Caldecott Archive > August 2016: Caldecott Honors, 1988-1992

Comments Showing 1-50 of 73 (73 new)    post a comment »
« previous 1

message 1: by Cheryl , Newbery Club host (last edited Aug 01, 2016 08:22PM) (new)

Cheryl  (cherylllr) | 6663 comments Mod
1988, winner was Owl Moon:

Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters: An African Tale by John Steptoe ill. by the author

1989, winner was Song and Dance Man:

The Boy of the Three-Year Nap by Dianne Snyder ill. Allen Say
Free Fall (wordless) ill. David Wiesner
Goldilocks and the Three Bears by James Marshall ill. by the author
Mirandy and Brother Wind by Jerry Pinkney

1990, winner was Lon Po Po:

Bill Peet: An Autobiography by Bill Peet ill. by the author
Color Zoo by Lois Ehlert ill. by the author
The Talking Eggs by Robert D. San Souci ill. Jerry Pinkney
Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins by Eric A. Kimmel ill Trina Schart Hyman

1991, winner was Black and White:

Puss in Boots by Charles Perrault ill. Fred Marcellino
More, More, More, Said the Baby: 3 Love Stories by Vera B. Williams ill. by the author

1992, winner was Tuesday:

Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold ill. by the author


message 2: by Cheryl , Newbery Club host (new)

Cheryl  (cherylllr) | 6663 comments Mod
These are all in my library system, and I have most checked out, but a few are still pending.

Seems clear that multiculturalism was a big concern in those days. I know it was when I was in teacher-training college, right about the same time. We read Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters An African Tale by John Steptoe for one of our classes.


message 3: by Manybooks (last edited Aug 02, 2016 03:58AM) (new)

Manybooks | 8440 comments Mod
Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters: An African Tale

John Steptoe's brilliant Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters is an African take on the globally-known and ever popular Cinderella theme (both the narrative and the illustrations are outstanding and make this a real gem of a picture book, not only for children, but actually for anyone interested in and appreciative of global folk and fairy tales). While the tale itself (like many if not most Cinderella-type stories) is rather predictable, it is engagingly narrated and the evocative illustrations are simply too beautiful for words. Furthermore, the fact that details of the illustrations are based on the ruins of an ancient city found in Zimbabwe, pays homage to the historic civilisations of Africa.

I especially and particularily appreciate that Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters really features no absolute and horrible villains. Manyara is vain, proud, unhappy and constantly teases her sister Nyasha, but she never tries to actively harm her sister (unlike many other Cinderella-type stories, where the stepsisters or siblings not only make life miserable for the heroine, but often try to harm, even kill the poor girl). And when Mufaro and Nyasha finally arrive in the city, Manyara attempts to warn her sister about the supposed monster. Manyara cares about her sister's safety and obviously could not have known that for Nyasha, having passed the test that Manyara herself had failed due to her pride and vanity, the snake would turn into the king (and become Nyasha's husband).

Now aside from the obvious Cinderella thematics, Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters also rather strongly reminds me of some of the (what I would call) sibling quest type of folktales, where two very different sisters or brothers go on a similar quest, but only one (the virtuous, humble sibling, who shares his/her food and is kind and loving to all) receives a reward (and there is perhaps even a suggestion of tales that feature a monster bridegroom, namely the snake that turns into the king).

While I apreciate that John Steptoe has included a short author's note, acknowledging his main sources, the folklore enthusiast in me would have preferred a more in-depth analysis and discussion of origins, sources and similarities; his author's note is adequate, but it does leave me wishing for a bit more detail (and a more thorough and detailed author's note would definitely have made this a five star book for me).


message 4: by Manybooks (last edited Aug 02, 2016 11:11AM) (new)

Manybooks | 8440 comments Mod
Color Zoo

Imaginative and innovative, this is really an almost perfect introduction to colours, shapes and animal names for young children, mainly as a read aloud, but Color Zoo would also be fun and engaging for children to explore on their own. It is just the right size for little hands, and as a board book, children can not only observe the shapes and colours, but feel them, touch them, trace their contour lines. I appreciate how especially the shapes become increasingly complex as the book progresses (from a simple circle to more complex shapes such as a hexagon and octagon), and do kind of wish that Lois Ehlert had also done this with the animal shapes and names depicted (but that is a minor, personal issue).


message 5: by Manybooks (last edited Aug 02, 2016 04:02AM) (new)

Manybooks | 8440 comments Mod
More More More Said the Baby

I know that More More More won a Caldecott Honour Medal, but I just do not like either the text or the illustrations all that much (I can appreciate effort and semtiment, but the end product feels rather lacking). The ilustrations are definitely bright, colourful and full of joyful movement, but frankly, I find some of them somewhat creepy and strange in nature. I would not necessarily call them inappropriate, but especially the picture of the father kissing his little boy on his exposed belly button leaves a rather strange taste in my mouth, as does the depiction of the grandmother "tasting" Little Pumpkin's toes (now don't get me wrong, I actually do not think there is anything wrong with these behaviours themselves, but the visuals, the pictures of said actions, feel a bit uncanny and potentially disturbing, at least for me).

The accompanying narrative reads humorously, but also somewhat tediously, with an unnatural and often awkward lyricism (and is actually also kind of hard to read at times, as it seems to blend right into the illustrations, somewhat reducing reading ease, especially if one requires reading glasses or has even minor issues with contrast). While I personally have no major (huge) issues with the fact that the text is presented in what one would and should likely label as colloquial American slang, many of the most negative, critical reviews of More More More quite take umbrage at the fact that proper grammatical forms are at times lacking (and although I consider this criticism a bit extreme and over the top, I do believe that the slangy discourse is also part of the reason, the narrative has the tendency to feel forced and rather painfully awkward in places).

I do much appreciate that Vera B. Williams has depicted an ethnically diverse set of babies, and that the second baby, Little Pumpkin, while clearly African American, has a Caucasian grandmother, a fact brilliantly shown by and with the illustrations, but not in any way textually belaboured or extensively analysed; it is simply presented as natural, a given. And I find it more than a bit sad that there are actually quite a number of critical reviews on especially Amazon that appear both shocked and angrily aghast at the fact that Little Pumpkin is African American while his or her grandmother is not. Two and a half stars if half stars were possible, rounded up to three stars for effort and the fact that multi-ethnicity and multiculturalism are so naturally and lovingly depicted.


message 6: by Manybooks (last edited Aug 02, 2016 04:04AM) (new)

Manybooks | 8440 comments Mod
Goldilocks and the Three Bears

James Marshall's Goldilocks and the Three Bears is deliciously fun (I especially appreciate that Goldilocks is both described and depicted as the rather nasty and disobedient, even malicious little girl she is, and that the Three Bears are clearly shown as the victims of her disobedient home invasion). That being said, while the accompanying illustrations are bright, expressive and full of humour (and clearly depict the often sly and calculating facial expressions of the main antagonist, of Goldilocks), they are also much too flat and cartoon like for my personal tastes (I can appreciate them, but I really do not like them all that much).

For me personally, considering that Goldilocks and the Three Bears is actually approached as primarily a literary fairy tale (first composed and published in England by Robert Southey in 1837, although in his version, instead of a mischievous young girl, it is an ugly old woman who invades and trashes a bear's humble domicile), the lack of any type of author's note on genesis and development of the same is a rather disappointing and frustrating omission (at the very least, Robert Southey's name as the likely original author of this type of tale should have been mentioned). Still highly recommended (James Marshall's retelling is not only humorous and engaging, it can also be used as a cautionary warning with regard to proper manners and acceptable social behaviours).


message 7: by Manybooks (last edited Aug 02, 2016 04:05AM) (new)

Manybooks | 8440 comments Mod
Puss in Boots

Although Fred Marcellino's illustrations are simply and utterly brilliant (lushly descriptive, authentically, historically 18th century French in style and movement, and more than well deserving of the Caldecott Honour Medal), I cannot say that I have ever really enjoyed Puss in Boots all that much as a tale, as a story. I have now read it in Perrault's French original, as well as in both German and English translation, and while I can appreciate the storyline to an extent, some parts have also always rubbed me the wrong proverbial way. Why for instance, would the Ogre's peasants, his serfs so to speak, automatically believe a passing cat's threats that he would have them killed if they did not tell the king that the fields belonged to the Marquis of Carabas, aka the Miller's son? And even with the king, I find it kind of hard to believe that he would have simply accepted the Marquis of Carabas as an existing nobleman, as the king would know of and be familiar with his country's noblemen and women, especially someone as high born as a Marquis (on the other hand, how the cat defeats the ogre is priceless and hilarious, albeit rather predictable, and I do love the fact that once the miller's son makes his fortune, and marries the king's daughter, his helper, his feline companion, is not forgotten, but becomes a great lord in his own right).

I have been debating whether to rate Puss in Boots with three or four stars, and finally decided on three stars. Although (thankfully) the original author and translator are mentioned (Charles Perrault, Malcolm Arthur), the tale actually has a rather interesting life story, and a more detailed note on its genesis and history would increase the literary and folkloric value of the same. The Brothers Grimm included a Puss in Boots type of tale in the first 1812 edition of their Kinder- und Hausmärchen but then removed it from subsequent editions as being not only "too French" but also "too literary" in scope, a salient point both interesting and ironic, considering we now know that many of the Grimms' collected "German" folktales were gathered from friends and acquaintances of French Huguenot extraction, and that the Grimms' themselves relentlessly edited and stylised their folktales, so that by the 1857 edition, their collection of tales was actually in many ways more literary than traditionally folkloric (all nuggets of knowledge that would and could be a great addition as an author's note in this otherwise excellent rendition of Charles Perrault's classic tale).


message 8: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks | 8440 comments Mod
Cheryl wrote: "These are all in my library system, and I have most checked out, but a few are still pending.

Seems clear that multiculturalism was a big concern in those days. I know it was when I was in teache..."


The multiculturalism aspect is well done in the Mufaro tale (I actually probably would consider that story more deserving of the Caldecott Medal than Owl Moon which won, but both are lovely). And even though I personally did not really enjoy More More More all that much, the multiculturalism depicted and the fact that the African American child has a Caucasian grandmother is both refreshing and I appreciate how natural and not in any way artificial the portrayal seems to be.

Many if not actually the majority of the other Caldecott Honour stories seem multicultural as well (Tar Beach, Mirandy and Brother Wind, the Talking Eggs, Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins, The Boy of the Three Year Nap).


message 9: by Beverly, Miscellaneous Club host (new)

Beverly (bjbixlerhotmailcom) | 2562 comments Mod
Bill Peet: an Autobiography
I read this book many years ago and enjoyed it very much. It was fascinating to read about someone who worked closely with Walt Disney and did many of the drawings for the animated movies. While I really enjoyed the pencil drawings for this book, I was disappointed that they were not in full color, like the many picture books that he wrote and illustrated. Most of the drawings are cartoon in style, but there are a couple of illustrations that look more serious--copies of paintings he did while in art school.


message 10: by Beverly, Miscellaneous Club host (new)

Beverly (bjbixlerhotmailcom) | 2562 comments Mod
Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters
I too loved this book, especially the beautiful paintings. They are colorful, life-like, and beautifully executed. I agree with Gundula that I would have voted this one the Caldecott over Owl Moon. I also agree that the story is a fusion of Cinderella and sibling quest story. Maybe even a little "Beauty and the Beast" as well.


message 11: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks | 8440 comments Mod
Beverly wrote: "Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters
I too loved this book, especially the beautiful paintings. They are colorful, life-like, and beautifully executed. I agree with Gundula that I would have voted this one..."


There are definitely nunances of the ao called monster bridegroom present.


message 12: by Beverly, Miscellaneous Club host (new)

Beverly (bjbixlerhotmailcom) | 2562 comments Mod
Boy of the Three Year Nap
I very much enjoyed this humorous story, and how the mother ultimately tricked her son. But most of all I loved the beautiful, colorful ink and watercolor paintings that captured the Japanese architecture and clothing, etc. with such authenticity. The blurbs call this a traditional Japanese folktale, but there is no other information about it.


message 13: by Beverly, Miscellaneous Club host (new)

Beverly (bjbixlerhotmailcom) | 2562 comments Mod
Free Fall
I am a huge fan of David Wiesner, his artistic style, and his many picture books. This book is no exception. I love the whimsical, wordless fantasy of the boy's plaid bedspread becoming a fantastical dreamscape of various adventures. I love the lovely watercolor paintings. The loathsome dragon even shows up in the dreamscape, as well as some pigs. I would have voted this book for a Caldecott over Song and Dance Man.


message 14: by Beverly, Miscellaneous Club host (new)

Beverly (bjbixlerhotmailcom) | 2562 comments Mod
Goldilocks
I like this humorous version with its cartoon illustrations. One thing I especially liked was that this version gave a reason for Goldilocks to be out and about--she was supposed to be buying muffins for her mother, who also warned her not to go into the woods. Of course, she disobeyed and the rest is folktale history. The cartoons are colorful and as humorous as the text.


message 15: by Beverly, Miscellaneous Club host (new)

Beverly (bjbixlerhotmailcom) | 2562 comments Mod
Mirandy and Brother Wind
The author based this story on an African-American cakewalk tradition in which couples danced in a competition in order to win a cake. She places the story in the early 1900s, when she has a photo of her grandparents who had just won a cakewalk. It is also set in the south, with dialect to match. The watercolor paintings are lively and energetic, and of course, very colorful. Pinkney is a whiz at illustrating people, animals and plants.


message 16: by Beverly, Miscellaneous Club host (last edited Aug 03, 2016 09:03PM) (new)

Beverly (bjbixlerhotmailcom) | 2562 comments Mod
Color Zoo
I agree that this was a unique educational book for very young children. The colors are very vivid and bright; the animals stylized. I looked at a regular book version, and in the back, after all the die-cut shapes, there is one page with each shape and its name; one page with each color and its name; and one page with each stylized animal and its name. Very useful. The only problem with the regular book version is that the die cut shapes tear very easily, so the library copy I looked at was heavily taped.


message 17: by Beverly, Miscellaneous Club host (new)

Beverly (bjbixlerhotmailcom) | 2562 comments Mod
The Talking Eggs
San Souci includes a paragraph at the front of the book about the origins of this southern folktale. The plot is similar to others that I have read in which there are two siblings (sisters in this case), one good and kind, the other selfish and nasty. The good one is rewarded and the nasty one punished by a mysterious woman who lives in the woods. Once again, Pinkney works his magic with pencil, colored pencil and watercolors in these fantastic paintings.


message 18: by Beverly, Miscellaneous Club host (new)

Beverly (bjbixlerhotmailcom) | 2562 comments Mod
Puss in Boots
I have always liked this story, maybe because I am a cat-lover. I never questioned why everyone believed the cat's outlandish claims. And I do love the way the cat tricked the ogre at the end. However, the ogre looks more like a human giant, than some kind of monster. Otherwise, I did like Marcellino's paintings (especially the cover with the large cat face), but I like Wiesner and Pinkney better.


message 19: by Beverly, Miscellaneous Club host (new)

Beverly (bjbixlerhotmailcom) | 2562 comments Mod
More More More Said the Baby
The stories are perfect for very young children. Short and sweet, and showing the grownups' love for the children. However, I did not like the illustrations at all; just not a style that appeals to me. The faces were too distorted for my taste.


message 20: by Beverly, Miscellaneous Club host (new)

Beverly (bjbixlerhotmailcom) | 2562 comments Mod
Tar Beach
This is a sweet story of a girl's fondness for the family gatherings on the roof of the building (the tar beach), and her daydreams about flying, and her daydream about giving her dad the building he is working on. The paintings are nice, and I liked the quilt fabric borders. The story and illustrations are based on a story quilt that the author/illustrator made.


message 21: by Cheryl , Newbery Club host (new)

Cheryl  (cherylllr) | 6663 comments Mod
I look forward to reading Tar Beach. I assume the 'flying' is a motif from the days of slavery, as it is also in The People Could Fly: American Black Folktales and The People Could Fly: The Picture Book.

You both make all the choices sound at least interesting, and in many cases wonderful. I hope to be able to share my thoughts this weekend.


message 22: by Jenny (new)

Jenny | 722 comments Goldilocks and the Three Bears. I appreciate the added details and word choice in Marshall's retelling of Goldilocks. While the illustrations complement and add to the humor of the story, I am not a huge fan of the cartoon-like style.


message 23: by Cheryl , Newbery Club host (new)

Cheryl  (cherylllr) | 6663 comments Mod
Bill Peet: An Autobiography: I thought I was going to skim this, as it's such a big book and I've never been a huge fan of his art style. But it's such an engaging read; I'm about 1/2 through and loving it... even the drawings seem more and more wonderful!


message 24: by Jenny (new)

Jenny | 722 comments Free Fall. This wordless book (which does contain a short poem on the front of the dust jacket that gives hints to what will occur in the story) is amazing. A boy falls asleep and enters the most imaginative and amazing adventure in his dream. I love how the illustrations begin as one thing and then morph into something else (ie. his bedspread becomes a countryside which becomes a chess board or trees which turn into books). I love the emotion captured on the boy's face. I especially love the concept that through books we can have countless adventures and explore a myriad of lands. This is a book that begs re"reading" because there is such depth and detail in the illustrations.

Also, this book reminded me of the poem, "What If?" By Isabel Joshlin Glaser.


message 25: by Jenny (new)

Jenny | 722 comments Cheryl wrote: "Bill Peet: An Autobiography: I thought I was going to skim this, as it's such a big book and I've never been a huge fan of his art style. But it's such an engaging read; I'm about 1/2..."

Good to know...I have this checked out but haven't felt enthusiastic about reading it.


message 26: by Jenny (new)

Jenny | 722 comments The Boy of the Three-Year Nap. This Caldecott Honor book was completely new to me and I really enjoyed it. Taro is a lazy boy who is always napping, hence his nickname "the boy of the three year nap." His mother works hard but still they live in poverty. Taro watches the wealthy rice merchant and hatches a plan to change his fate by tricking the merchant. But his mother successfully tricks him as well. The story is humorous and has a lesson. And the illustrations are wonderful. I do wish it had an author's note to provide more information about its origin (there are a couple of sentences in the author blurb but not enough, in my opinion.)


message 27: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks | 8440 comments Mod
The Boy of the Three-Year Nap

An indolent, but shrewd poor widow's son devises an ingenious ploy (method) to marry a rich merchant's daughter in this fun and engaging adaptation of what appears to be a traditional Japanese folktale (I especially love that both Taro and his mother are wily and adept, that while Taro uses tricks and subterfuge to marry the merchant's daughter, the mother also uses the same to finally insure that her lazy son will actually have to work for a living).

Now I am claiming that The Boy of the Three Year Nap "seems" to be a retelling of a Japanese folktale, as in my paperback version, there is neither an author's note provided nor are there any comments by the author that this is indeed an adaptation and not an original Japanese-inspired offering. And thus, as much as I truly enjoyed The Boy of the Three Year Nap (both Dianne Snyder's text and Allen Say's accompanying illustrations are informative, descriptive and engaging, providing a magical, glowing, perfect mirror of one another), I can and will only offer a three star rating (the lack of any kind of author's note is not only a rather frustrating folkloric/academic omission, it is and remains even more of an issue for me because of the fact that this is a tale of Japan, a country of which culture and lore I am not as academically and culturally aware as, say, Western and Eastern Europe). I still highly recommend The Boy of the Three Year Nap, and also realise that for the intended audience (and even for many adult readers), the lack of an author's note would more than likely not be problematic, but I do very much lament its non inclusion, and it really does rather chafe that there is NO supplemental information whatsoever provided (even a small note regarding sources and the like would have sufficed for a four star, although I would likely have wanted and required more in-depth supplemental details for a five star rating).

I find it rather interesting, but also somewhat troubling that many of the most vehemently negative reviews of The Boy of the Three Year Nap seem to centre on the fact that Taro and by extension his mother achieve their goals and desires by mostly trickery and subterfuge (there are a number of reviewers who actually claim that this tale is unsuitable and inappropriate for children). Now (and this is another reason why a detailed author's note on background and genesis of this tale and tale type would be a welcome and I believe even necessary required addition) while in many folktales, it is indeed honesty and integrity that wins the day so to speak, there are also many many examples of trickery, of shrewdness, of clever subterfuge being rewarded, being condoned and even cheered (and thus, we should really see Taro and his mother as examples of tricksters, of individuals who with their cleverness and imagination attain their goals and wishes, even if they are poor, even if they are weak, and even if they are physically inactive and slothful).


message 28: by Manybooks (last edited Aug 06, 2016 03:09PM) (new)

Manybooks | 8440 comments Mod
Jenny wrote: "The Boy of the Three-Year Nap. This Caldecott Honor book was completely new to me and I really enjoyed it. Taro is a lazy boy who is always napping, hence his nickname "the boy of th..."

My copy did not even have that much, no author note at all.


message 29: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks | 8440 comments Mod
Free Fall

Although I can and do ALWAYS appreciate David Wiesner's illustrations, in many cases, their rich (and wordless) detail remain too busy and too confusing (maybe not for those visually inclined individuals who are image oriented, but definitely for someone like me, who is almost slavishly text oriented, and who often finds an overabundance of illustrations without accompanying narrative both distracting and confusing). And this is precisely my main problem with Free Fall, namely that the images, the illustrations are spectacular, but their intensiveness and the fact that there is NO textual explanations whatsoever, make it very hard (even nigh impossible) for me to follow and let alone satisfactorily comprehend the storyline (and yes, I realise that Free Fall is a wordless picture book, but personally, I would need some accompanying narrative to fully and pleasurably understand illustrations that detailed and busy). Still highly recommended, just not all that much my proverbial and personal cup of tea!


message 30: by Michael (new)

Michael Fitzgerald | 367 comments Isn't Three-Year Nap similar to this tale (reported as from Laos)?

http://www.uexpress.com/tell-me-a-story/2010/8/8/mr-lazybones-a-laotian-folktale

There are other lazy-boy-gets-married stories, like Keloglan (from Turkey), but I don't think those match as closely.


message 31: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks | 8440 comments Mod
Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins

An entertaining, engaging (as well as informative) folktale-like offering of how Hershel of Ostropol with clever wile, with courage and perseverance rids a town's synagogue of an army of nasty demonic goblins that have been preventing Hanukkah celebrations, both Eric Kimmel's narrative and Tricia Schart Hyman's illustrations are absolutely fabulous (there is both humour and pathos, both joy and potentially ominous threats depicted and related, although I would leave a bit of a caveat that particularly the illustrations do get more and more frightening and creepy as the tale progresses, and that especially the depiction of the Goblin king, with his vast size and black pointing fingers might well frighten sensitive children).

With regard to folklore and culture, Eric Kimmel's narrative really does seem to feel and read like a delicious buffet of traditional themes. The greedy goblin who stamps his foot so hard that he shatters himself into a millions pieces (the second night), has palpable and definite shades of Rumpelstilzchen type tales, while the main protagonist's ever more challenging and dangerous obstacles (which get progressively worse until there is a final, destructive but ultimately cleansing and positive climax) is a globally common folkloric concept. And Hershel of Ostropol himself is a glowing portrait of the noble trickster of tradition and lore, the clever outcast, who primarily through cunning and wiliness, and not magic, succeeds and triumphs, even overcoming evil and sorcery (and of course, saving Hanukkah in the process).

The informative author's note on the history and significance of Hanukkah is an added bonus (much appreciated, it very much raises the potential educational value of Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins). That being said, I think Eric Kimmel should also have provided some additional information on the narrative itself (or rather, on its specific contents). Is this tale an original folktale-like offering, or is it based on, is it adapted from Yiddish, Jewish folklore? Is Hershel of Ostropol a constructed character, or was there really such a person (even in folklore)? I am left with more questions than answers on an academic, folkloric level, and thus, while the author's note is more than adequate with regard to Hanukkah as a Jewish holiday, it does feel a bit lacking with regard to the origins of the text (or rather the potential origins, as I realise this might well be a completely original tale, but if that were the case, this should also have been mentioned, acknowledged).


message 32: by Manybooks (last edited Aug 06, 2016 04:14PM) (new)

Manybooks | 8440 comments Mod
Michael wrote: "Isn't Three-Year Nap similar to this tale (reported as from Laos)?

http://www.uexpress.com/tell-me-a-sto...

There are other lazy-boy-gets-married stories, ..."


I have not read these, but they do kind of seem to be related. Mildly related simply because of the thematics of a lazy rather indolent trickster being able to outsmart adversaries (and covering up deeds that while not nefarious, are still rather unacceptable) is the rather hunorous Clever Gretel tale of the Brothers Grimm where a maid who has devoured her master's chicken dinner (which was destined to feed both him and a visitor) is able to convince the master that the visitor has absconded with the chicken and the visitor that the master had invited the guest in order to cut off his ears and that he was already sharpening his knives (thus forcing the visitor to make a hasty retreat with the master in pursuit holding a knife, asking for just one chicken piece for his dinner, but because the visitor had been told by Gretel that the master wanted to cut off his ears, he of course keeps running and the master thus never catches him and never realises that it was his maid Gretel who had eaten his chicken dinner).


message 33: by Cheryl , Newbery Club host (new)

Cheryl  (cherylllr) | 6663 comments Mod
Did not anyone else find Free Fall rather more like a nightmare than a fun adventure? Changing sizes at random, without even a bottle labeled "Drink Me," shaking hands with a knight who turned out to be a flock of doves in a suit of armor, meeting swans in a seascape that resembled the sky of Escher's geese.... I guess, judging by the details of context in the boy's bedroom, he is the adventurous type, but I don't think I'd like to have his dreams!


message 34: by Cheryl , Newbery Club host (new)

Cheryl  (cherylllr) | 6663 comments Mod
My copy of Free Fall does not have the jacket or poem, either. Can someone type it, or paste a link to it? Is it

The Land of Counterpane
Robert Louis Stevenson, 1850 - 1894

When I was sick and lay a-bed,
I had two pillows at my head,
And all my toys beside me lay
To keep me happy all the day.

And sometimes for an hour or so
I watched my leaden soldiers go,
With different uniforms and drills,
Among the bed-clothes, through the hills;

And sometimes sent my ships in fleets
All up and down among the sheets;
Or brought my trees and houses out,
And planted cities all about.

I was the giant great and still
That sits upon the pillow-hill,
And sees before him, dale and plain,
The pleasant land of counterpane.


message 35: by Manybooks (last edited Aug 06, 2016 04:01PM) (new)

Manybooks | 8440 comments Mod
Cheryl wrote: "Did not anyone else find Free Fall rather more like a nightmare than a fun adventure? Changing sizes at random, without even a bottle labeled "Drink Me," shaking hands with a knight w..."

I too found Free Fall strange and a bit creepy. And even after reading (looking at the illustrations) something like four times, I am still not sure I understand the sequence of depicted events all that well. However, I would probably not have minded the creepiness that much if said sequence of illustrations had been a bit less convoluted (or if there had been some explanatory, guiding written text).


message 36: by Cheryl , Newbery Club host (new)

Cheryl  (cherylllr) | 6663 comments Mod
I finished Bill Peet: An Autobiography and was disappointed that it was over. There are hints of his interest in the protection of wildlife and the environment, but no development of that... much too much, imo, of the book is spent on his years working with Walt Disney. Well, it was 27 years, but still.

Now I definitely want to read more of his picture-books. I do think that it's worth a Caldecott Honor, even though it's not a standard picture-book. It does have lots and lots of pictures, and though it's long it's easy to read, and it certainly makes a distinguished contribution to young artists who dream of making a living at drawing and creating books.


message 37: by Jenny (new)

Jenny | 722 comments The poem on the dust jacket of the library copy of Free Fall says this:

In the silence
of a dream
our adventures move
in seamless progression
as we conquer
our dragon,
explore
uncharted lands,
climb
to the highest pinnacle,
and float
free
descending
in a sudden
free fall
to the new day.


It's a shame that not all copies of the book have the poem because I felt like it helped orient me as I began to read.


message 38: by Cheryl , Newbery Club host (new)

Cheryl  (cherylllr) | 6663 comments Mod
Wonderful. Thank you so much for typing that out for us. I do think the poem is not only helpful, but lovely in its own right, and should be part of all editions of the book.


message 39: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks | 8440 comments Mod
Cheryl wrote: "Wonderful. Thank you so much for typing that out for us. I do think the poem is not only helpful, but lovely in its own right, and should be part of all editions of the book."

I agree. If my paperback copy had contained the poem, I would have likely enjoyed Free Fall rather more.


message 40: by Cheryl , Newbery Club host (new)

Cheryl  (cherylllr) | 6663 comments Mod
Tar Beach is a gorgeous book, and I have no doubt it's well worth the Honor. However, I can't say anything more, really, because I, personally, don't 'get' it.


message 41: by Cheryl , Newbery Club host (new)

Cheryl  (cherylllr) | 6663 comments Mod
I wasn't wowed by Marshall's Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Some fun extra vocabulary words, and context, do enrich the basic story, but it still makes me shrug 'so what.' Judging by the near-mint condition of the library copy I read, stamped as bought in 1998, kids don't necessarily love the book, either.


message 42: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks | 8440 comments Mod
Cheryl wrote: "I wasn't wowed by Marshall's Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Some fun extra vocabulary words, and context, do enrich the basic story, but it still makes me shrug 'so what.' Judging by..."

I found especially the illustrations too cartoonlike and stagnant, and while I did enjoy the narrative, the lack of an author's not annoyed me a bit (especially since this tale is generally conisdered to be an originally literary fairy tale composed by a specific author).


message 43: by Cheryl , Newbery Club host (new)

Cheryl  (cherylllr) | 6663 comments Mod
More More More Said the Baby brought a tear to my eye. I distinctly remember being so enchanted by my babies that I wanted to kiss & nuzzle them "from nose to toes." I was even able to overlook the fact that I didn't care for the pictures so much, nor the rainbow typeface.


message 44: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks | 8440 comments Mod
Cheryl wrote: "Tar Beach is a gorgeous book, and I have no doubt it's well worth the Honor. However, I can't say anything more, really, because I, personally, don't 'get' it."

I kind of am having the same issues which is the main reason I have not yet reviewed it.


message 45: by Cheryl , Newbery Club host (new)

Cheryl  (cherylllr) | 6663 comments Mod
Fred Marcellino's Puss in Boots is certainly different than other versions I've read. More detailed in some ways, but the miller's son has no personality and I could've sworn he did when I've read the story before. Well, no matter, the point of the story is the bit where the cat outwits the ogre, and that's fine.

Well, except that the ogre doesn't seem very monstrous. His peasants and servants are well-fed and clothed - and lucky for them that are being cared for, as they're obviously awfully simple-minded to be afraid of the cat's threats. Unless the mere encounter with a talking, boot-wearing cat is terrifying unto itself.... In any case, I do feel sorry for the moon-faced ogre.

But if we suspend disbelief it's a fun story. And the illustrations here bring it to full in-your-face life. I love the costumes, especially of the king all in pink. And the facial expressions, decor, and architecture.


message 46: by Cheryl , Newbery Club host (new)

Cheryl  (cherylllr) | 6663 comments Mod
The Boy of the Three-Year Nap
In this lazybones story, the theme is cleverness. The widow enables her son to outwit the merchant, and also outwits her son by ensuring that he will have to work for his father-in-law.

In the Laotian tale, the theme is expressed at the end, that the poor man is mocked for being lazy, but a rich man is admired for not needing to work.

I enjoyed both stories very much, especially Allen Say's people, with their over-acting facial expressions and body language. Of course, I'm surprised the merchant was so gullible, but I'm willing to assume backstory of a guilty conscience or something.


message 47: by Cheryl , Newbery Club host (new)

Cheryl  (cherylllr) | 6663 comments Mod
The Talking Eggs reminded me of nothing so much as "Diamonds and Toads" - but I can't find, right now, a link to a good version.

I really like this version. I like how the witch gives the bad sister so many chances to redeem herself. I do wonder, though, at naming the good sister Blanche....


message 48: by Manybooks (last edited Aug 09, 2016 06:59PM) (new)

Manybooks | 8440 comments Mod
My curiosity finally got the better of me and I decided to check Wikipedia with regard to Hershel of Ostropol. It seems that he is a prominent figure in Jewish humour, a Ukrainian prankster, who often, like other European tricksters (such as the German Till Eulenspiegel) specifically targets the rich and powerful (Robin Hood also comes to mind). And the literary/folkloric Hershel of Ostropol is actually based on a bona fide historical figure (who lived in what is now the Ukraine in the late 18th and early 19th century) and became court jester to Rabbi Boruch of Medzhybizh.

It makes me wonder even more why while there is such a great author's note on Hanukkah as a holiday, Eric Kimmel did not do the same with regard to the tale itself (potential origins, folkloric background) and especially with regard to Hershel as a literary and historical character, as much as I enjoyed this book, I feel a bit cheated.


message 49: by Manybooks (last edited Aug 09, 2016 04:48PM) (new)

Manybooks | 8440 comments Mod
Cheryl wrote: "The Talking Eggs reminded me of nothing so much as "Diamonds and Toads" - but I can't find, right now, a link to a good version.

I really like this version. I like how the witch give..."


The name might well hearken back to the fact that according to the author's note, this tale originated from folktales of French émigrés to Louisiana (likely Acadian exiles from the Canadian Maritimes) and Blanche was a very common name in Acadia (same as Rose for that matter).


message 50: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks | 8440 comments Mod
I think that Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters and The Talking Eggs share many similarities. Both are at the root, Cinderella like tales, but also and perhaps even more so, tales that show sibling quests (AT tale 480, the Kind and Unkind Girls). And especially The Talking Eggs is very similar to the Grimms' tale of Mother Holle and also to a certain extent the Irish tale of (I believe this is the title) Blond, Brown and Trembling.


« previous 1
back to top