I love the Caldecott Medal! For years and years and years, I've eagerly anticipated the announcement of the prize for best "American picture book for children." I loved reading Caldecott books when I was a kid. I followed the awards as a young adult. Of course, I especially loved reading the award winners to my kids. Even now that Claire and Benjamin are beyond picture books, I'm still interested to see who wins! (Not you can ever *really* be beyond picture books.)
This years winner is Locomotive by Brain Floca. It was on the shelf in the kids section at the library and I read it last night.
I was a bit disappointed. Ug. It's the story of building the railroad across the US and the people that ride it from Omaha to Sacramento. I just thought it lacked life. Here's a picture of the train crossing the great plains.
I lived in Kansas and Nebraska. I want to remember them with much more beauty than this (bland) water color.
I love picture books where you can find details, unexpected surprises and innovative compositions. I wanted to know something about the people on the train. I also found the setting of the type clunky and distracting. I didn't even find the illustrations particularly masterful or special.
Anyway, blah. Apparently the awards committee saw something different.
I also checked out one of the Caldecott Honor books, Journey by Aaron Becker.
So much better! Delightful! Can't you even just tell from the cover?! A lonely girl draws a new door on her bedroom wall that leads her to a wondrous but perilous new world. Check out the magical forest where she begins her adventure.
The other two Caldecott Honor books look great too: Mr. Wuffles and Flora and the Flamingo. I am also eager to read Flora and Ulysses which won the Newberry Medal for Children's Literature and stars a super-hero, poetry writing squirrel. (Isn't it odd that there are two "Flora" titles on the awards list this year?) None of these were on the shelf at the library, but I'm on the hold list, so I'll get to read them soon.
You can see the list of all the awards for books for kids and youth here. Please note the fabulous YA book Eleanor and Park got a Printz Honor!