Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Caldecott and Newbery Medals 2014

Early on the morning of January 28 hundreds of librarians gathered at the annual American Library Association’s (ALA) Midwinter meeting to hear who won the ALA Youth Media Awards. Locomotive, a picture book illustrated by Brian Floca, was announced as the winner of the Caldecott Medal. Flora and Ulysses won the Newbery Medal as the best chapter book.

Here are my reviews of these delightful books:

Caldecott Medal, 2014

Locomotive, by Brian Floca, is the story of a family moving west in the year 1869. The family leaves Omaha, Nebraska on a Union Pacific train and will eventually transfer to a Pacific Railroad train on the way to their destination of Sacramento, California. Readers meet the brakemen, firemen, engineer, conductor, and captain of the train. We see where the passengers eat and sleep and we see the country from the passengers’ point of view. A map is drawn at the front of the book so the reader can follow the tracks across the country. I would call this an information book with many fun illustrations. All ages would love the pictures but I see this as a read-aloud for third, fourth, or fifth graders.

Newbery Medal, 2014

Flora and Ulysses was written by Kate Di Camillo (author of The Tale of Despereaux which was the 2004 Newbery winner). Flora is a quirky little girl – maybe around 10 years old – who lives with her mother, a writer. Ulysses is a squirrel who is sucked up by a very powerful vacuum cleaner. Flora rescues Ulysses and saves his life using (yes!) mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. This book is about what happens in a world with a squirrel who can fly and write poems on a typewriter. You will love meeting Flora’s quiet accountant father, Tootie the neighbor who loves poetry, William Spiver who thinks he can’t see, and the very wise Dr. Meescham. I smiled through the entire 232 pages.

Book Reviews by Susan Berry

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