The Caldecott Medal: Celebrating 75 years of distinguished picture books

  • Posted: Sunday, February 24, 2013 12:01 a.m.

SALISBURY — Jan. 28 was a very exciting day in the library community. At the American Library Association Midwinter Meeting at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle, approximately 12,500 webcast viewers joined more than 1,300 onsite audience members for the 2013 ALSC book and media awards.This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Caldecott Medal which was established in 1938 and named in honor of 19th-century English illustration Randolph J. Caldecott. This medal is to be given to the artist who has created the most distinguished picture book of the year.

The prestigious Caldecott Medal was awarded to “This Is Not My Hat,” illustrated and written by Jon Klassen. In this humorous story a little fish knows that it is wrong to steal a hat from a sleeping big fish but decides he can’t help it if the hat fits him perfectly. There’s just one problem. The unsuspecting little fish doesn’t realize that the big fish wants his hat back, and rightfully so. Readers will enjoy anticipating the consequences as the big fish chases the unsuspecting little fish.

The Caldecott committee selected five honor books this year. “Creepy Carrots!” illustrated by Peter Brown and written by Aaron Reynolds, is a cleverly-frightful tale. Jasper Rabbit insists on eating the best carrots grown in Crackenhopper Field every morning, noon and night. Things take an unsuspecting turn for Jasper when he senses that he is being followed. Is it Jasper or are the carrots from Crackenhopper Field creeping up on him everywhere he goes? Taking matters into his own hands, Jasper comes up with a plan to keep the creepy carrots inside the carrot patch permanently.

“Extra Yarn,” illustrated by Jon Klassen and written by Mac Barnett, takes place in a cold, soot-covered town where a young girl named Annabelle discovers a mysterious box filled with colored yarn. After knitting a sweater for herself, her dog, a boy and his dog, her classmates, her teacher, her parents, the people in town, and the buildings it seems that there is an infinite supply of yarn in the box. When the archduke arrives and demands that Annabelle sell him the magic box, she refuses, and he decides to steal it. Much to his dismay he finds the box empty and tosses the box into the sea. Magically, the box finds its way back to a happy Annabelle who has transformed the town from black soot to a plethora of beautiful colors.

How many kinds of green are there? There’s forest green, sea green, jungle green and khaki green just to name a few. “Green,” illustrated and written by Laura Vaccaro Seeger, is an engaging concept book that explores the color green using cleverly positioned die-cuts of varying sizes, shapes and quantities that form unexpected connections between adjacent spreads. A slow green inchworm becomes the hook on which hangs a faded green sign and the glow green fireflies become the leaves on the shaded green tree. Seeger takes it one step further by discussing the absence of green — a stop sign is never green — to the forever green: a child planting a seedling that becomes a massive tree.

Elliot, a quiet boy who enjoys wearing tuxedos, discovers during his visit to the aquarium that a penguin would be the perfect pet. What could be more wonderful than a properly dressed penguin? In the story “One Cool Friend,” illustrated by David Small and written by Toni Buzzeo, an absentminded father agrees to his son’s request. In this humorous tale, Elliot sees to it that his penguin named Magellan receives the utmost care after doing the proper research. He creates a home for him at night in the freezer with a supply of frozen seafood to eat. During the day he lets him splash around in a tub of ice water. In his bedroom there is even an ice skating rink created from a backyard wading pool and an air conditioner. How will Elliot’s father react when he realizes what he has agreed to?

Do the phrases, “I’m not tired” and “I’m just not sleepy” sound familiar to any parents? In the charming bedtime story “Sleep Like a Tiger,” illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski and written by Mary Logue, a not-so-sleepy girl in a red dress and crown has very understanding parents who innocently coax her to bed as they talk about the ways different animals fall asleep. The child, snug in her pajamas, imitates each of the animals she talks about — from bears who are “mighty sleepers” to snails that “curl up like a cinnamon roll.” Finally, she drifts off to sleep imagining herself snuggled into the tiger’s tail while embracing her own stuffed tiger.

Children’s Storytime: Weekly through April 26. For more information, call 704-216-8234

Headquarters — Tuesday, 10:30 a.m., Toddler Time (18- to 35-month-olds); Wednesday, 11 a.m., Baby Time (6- to 23-month-olds); Thursday, 10:30 a.m., Preschool Time (3- to 5-year-olds); Thursday, 4 p.m., Noodlehead (4- to 8-years-olds.)

South — Monday, 4 p.m., Noodlehead; Tuesday, 10:30 a.m., Baby Time; 1:30 p.m., Preschool Time; Wednesday, 10:30 a.m., Toddler Time.

East — Monday, 10 a.m., Baby Time; Monday, 11 a.m., Toddler Time; Wednesday, 10:30 a.m., Preschool Time.

Chocolate festival for teens: All 5:30-7 p.m. East, Monday; Headquarters, Tuesday. Chocolate fountain, taste testing, painting and more. For more information, call 704-216-8234.

Book Bites Club: South (only), Tuesday, 6:30 p.m., “The Time Traveler’s Wife” by Audrey Niffenegger. Book discussion groups for both adults and children will meet the last Tuesday of each month. The group is open to the public and anyone is free to join at any time. There is a discussion of the book, as well as light refreshments at each meeting. For more information, please call 704-216-8229.

Displays for February: headquarters, Sidney Blackmer collection; South, student art by Corriher-Lipe Middle School; East, 4-H by Ann Furr.

Literacy: Call the Rowan County Literacy Council at 704-216-8266 for more information on teaching or receiving literacy tutoring for English speakers or for those for whom English is a second language.

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