Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Caldecott and Newbery Medals 2013

Caldecott Medal, 2013

This Is Not My Hat was written and illustrated by Jon Klassen and is the newest picture book winner! (Another of Klassen’s books, Extra Yarn, was named as an honor book this year.) This story is about a small fish who steals a (small) hat from a large fish. For some reason the small fish thinks he can keep this (small) hat. The plot shows how the large fish searches for his hat among all the weeds in the ocean. This is almost a “search and find” kind of story. The reader is determined to find that hat among the weeds but the illustrator does a beautiful job of “hiding” that hat. This is a fun, quirky little book. I love it.

Newbery Medal, 2013

The One and Only Ivan, written by Katherine Applegate, is a lovely (and that term is not used often to describe a Newbery winner.) story about a gentle gorilla named Ivan, two sweet elephants, and a feisty little dog. These animals were hurt and eventually cut from a circus and put on display at a shopping mall. Ivan the gorilla becomes an artist after lessons from a young girl named Julia. The description at the front of this book calls this a story of friendship, art, and hope. For sure.

Book Reviews by Susan Berry

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Caldecott and Newbery Medals 1996

Caldecott Medal, 1996

Officer Buckle and Gloria was written by Peggy Rathman. Officer Buckle is a police officer who teaches safety rules to classes of children. All goes well until Officer Buckle realizes that his sidekick Gloria (a dog with lots of personality) is the star of his show. Feelings are hurt but feelings are mended. This book brought giggles to my first graders.

Newbery Medal, 1996

The Midwife’s Apprentice by Karen Cushman is a relatively short (and small) book set in the fourteenth century. Beetle is a young girl who lived with a woman named Jane. Jane Sharp was the midwife in a small village who fed and housed Beetle but treated her poorly. Eventually Beetle changed her name to Alyce and soon learned the skills of a midwife. As Alyce’s skills as a midwife grow, so does her confidence. A well-written book, it seems appropriate for a middle schooler.

Book Reviews by Susan Berry

Monday, January 28, 2013

Caldecott and Newbery Medals 1990

Caldecott Medal, 1990

Ed Young wrote this Red Riding Hood story from China. Illustrated in water colors and pastels, Lon Po Po begins with the mother leaving her children alone at home. Guess who comes to visit! And guess who outsmarts the wolf! This book is delightful, beautifully illustrated, and a great companion to the version we all know and love!

Newbery Medal, 1990

Number the Stars is one of several books by beloved author Lois Lowry. The setting of this book is Copenhagen, Denmark during the German occupation in 1943. It is the story of Annemarie, a ten-year old, the older of two sisters in a Danish family who smuggled their Jewish friends across the sea to Sweden. This is a fiction story but it is based on what really happened during the war. This book is told from a ten-year-old’s point of view but based on a scary time. I would suggest it to any child (maybe with adult supervision or conversation) older than twelve.

Book Reviews by Susan Berry

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Caldecott and Newbery Medals 1969

Caldecott Medal, 1969 

Sylvester and the Magic Pebble was written and illustrated by William Stieg. It is a dear story about a family of three donkeys. The red pebble really is magic and whoever holds it has his wish granted. Unfortunately, when Sylvester is scared by a lion he wishes himself to become a rock. And a rock he became! Of course, Sylvester’s parents miss him terribly – but the ending is a happy one. This is a long picture book, a classic. Every family needs a copy.

Newbery Medal, 1969

The High King by Lloyd Alexander is the fifth and final book of the Chronicles of Prydain. This is the exciting tale of young people and loyal animals who fight to take back the land from Arawn Death – Lord. There is a glossary of names at the end of the book and that is very helpful but it took me a few chapters to figure out who is who. If I had read the first four books I’m sure I would have known the characters sooner. This was a lovely, very satisfying read.

Book Reviews by Susan Berry