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For 75 years, the Caldecott Award has been the premier signifier of outstanding picture books for children. Here are two books worthy of consideration for the Caldecott Medal in 2013.
“Step Gently Out” By Helen Frost
This book combines poetry, art and science to create a stunning reflection on the world as seen by our tiniest creatures. Rick Lieder’s close-up photographs elicit gasps, sighs, oohs and aahs on every page with incredible views of a bumblebee in flight, a spider delicately suspended on a strand of silk, the flash of a firefly, the precise step of a praying mantis. Frost’s spare rhyming text provides the perfect counterpoint for Lieder’s rich images. The book provides children and adults access into the world of the diminutive they probably don’t usually notice. “In song and dance/ and stillness,/ they share the world/ with you.” Curiosity aroused, readers will appreciate the interesting factual endnotes illuminating the 11 insects and arachnids featured.
“Green” By Laura Vaccaro Seeger
Similarly, “Green” combines minimal text and vibrant images to create a singular view of a subject: the many varieties of the color green. Illustrations of thick paint on canvas give remarkable depth and mood to the simple two-word phrases that make up the book: “lime green, pea green, jungle green, khaki green, fern green ...” The striking portraits of each shade of green are made irresistible by ingenious and delightful die-cuts throughout. Young children are entranced by the way the same cut-outs become glowing fireflies on one page and red apples contrasting with a green tree on the next. Older children will be fascinated by a rectangular cut-out revealing the word “Jungle” from a paint-spattered background, then revealing the word “khaki” hidden in the preceding jungle vines. Seeger gives a masterful presentation of a seemingly simple concept.
To celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the Caldecott Medal for most distinguished picture book for children, the Deschutes Public Library system is currently holding a Mock Caldecott discussion.
Join us at workshops throughout the county in January to look at the books or argue for your favorite. Visit the website at deschutes library.org to review the candidates and then vote online or at your local library for the Mock Caldecott on Jan. 13-20. The results of the Mock Caldecott will be announced Jan. 22. The 2013 Caldecott Medal will be announced Jan. 28.