Posts Tagged ‘Mock Caldecott’

Mock Caldecott Review: The Antlered Ship

by Casey Maynard on January 12th, 2018

Related imagePrepare to go on a quest seeking the answers to Marco the fox’s world of questions. The journey may be tough, and you may go hungry. But in the end you’ll be much wiser, though the questions have changed and many have gone unanswered. The Antlered Ship serves as a lovely reminder that the journey is just as if not more important than the destination.

As lyrical as it is visually stunning The Antlered Ship delivers a narrative packed with multiple juxtaposed tones. Humor and gloom walk hand in hand, existentialism meets realism and whimsy, danger. The art and text perfectly compliment each other with the Fan brothers bringing great emotive depth to their otherwise non anthropomorphic animal characters.

Be sure to check out the Terry and Eric Fan’s works from 2016, The Night Gardener and The Darkest Dark and if The Antlered Ship is your favorite be sure to vote in our Mock Caldecott awards by January 31st. Related image

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Mock Caldecott Review: Grand Canyon

by Casey Maynard on January 5th, 2018

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This week we are taking a look at Jason Chin’s Grand CanyonIf you are unfamiliar with Chin’s nonfiction works, I encourage you to give Gravity, Redwoods, Coral Reefsand Island a look as well.

Grand Canyon is a fabulous story about a father and daughter exploring this natural wonder and serves as a young reader’s reference guide to the canyon’s geology and ecology past and present. Readers of all ages will find something to enjoy from the narrative and the immersive artwork to the heavily researched back matter. Chin’s book design soars using every piece of the pages to further illuminate life in and the history of the canyon. His use of marginal imagery is particularly lovely. Also be sure to note the wonderful fossil cutouts that set up page turns to the distant past and the fantastic gatefold vista at the end.

Check this one out and let us know if it’s your favorite by voting in ICPL’s Mock Caldecott Awards by January 31st.

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Mock Caldecott Review: Wolf in the Snow

by Casey Maynard on December 29th, 2017

Given the current conditions in Iowa City, our next Mock Caldecott review is fitting. It has been almost a year since the publication of Matthew Cordell’s Wolf in the Snow and somehow it remains as fresh and vibrant as it was when I first saw it last January. It was also just given a Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor. Though stylistically reminiscent of Cordell’s other works, Dream and Bob, Not Bob!  specifically, the juxtaposition of realistic pen and ink wolves with cartoonesque watercolor characters is something entirely new. Cordell takes risks here and they all pay off, turning narrative and artistic tropes we see in many picture books and fairy tales on their heads. Be sure to look out for his consistent use of shape and color as well as the incredible expressiveness he manages to show with our protagonist’s very limited facial space. There’s also a special surprise under the dust jacket you won’t want to miss. If you love this book be sure to vote for it as our 2018 Mock Caldecott winner by January 31st.


Mock Caldecott Review: Maya Lin: Artist-Architect of Light and Lines

by Casey Maynard on December 22nd, 2017

Related image Maya Lin: Artist-Architect of Light and Lines is one of the most successful picture book biographies that I have seen to date.  Not only is the text fantastic, illuminating Lin’s childhood experiences and passion for art and the earth, but Dow Phumiruk’s illustrations soar. This is her debut picture book and it is simply stunning. Phumiruk’s use of a soft color palette, crisp edges and incredible perspective along with Harvey’s succinct blocks of text mirrors Lin’s minimalist nature inspired structures.  Phumiruk also utilizes large negative space inviting readers to approach Lin’s life and work with the same quiet introspection inspired by Lin’s art. Overall this nonfiction title is wonderfully accessible and is a beautiful tribute to one of the most influential modern artist-architects. Related image

Mock Caldecott Review: Now

by Casey Maynard on December 15th, 2017

Image result for now antoinette portisAntoinette Portis consistently creates delightful read alouds for children and her latest, Nowis a treasure. A young girl shows us her favorite things including a paper boat, a song, a worm and mud. As we follow her throughout her day it becomes apparent that everything she does and has is her favorite, because it is what she is experiencing in the moment.

The exception emerges at the end of the title with her “favorite now”. Pay particular attention to Portis’s masterful use of negative space, vibrant colors and exaggerated brush strokes encouraging breath and space throughout.  Not only is this picture book a joy to read, but much like Wait before, it serves as a reminder to slow down and live every moment to its fullest potential.

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Mock Caldecott Review: Full of Fall

by Casey Maynard on December 8th, 2017
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Librarians and educators are constantly seeking books about seasons and revisit perennial favorites for storytimes and classroom use year after year. Full of Fall has quickly become one of those favorites.

Utilizing short rhyming text with breathtaking photos of fall foliage, animals and scenes, April Pulley Sayre gives readers a lush reminder of why fall is so lovely. Combined with a hearty amount of backmatter including information regarding why leaves change color, how animals prepare for winter and which trees are marcescent, this title is perfect for older readers looking to glean more information about seasonal change as well. A photo illustrated book has never won the Caldecott, Full of Fall would be a perfect first.

On a personal note, as a fellow Hoosier, from the northwest part of the state, I loved seeing some of my childhood stomping grounds represented here. In particular Sayre has used fantastic scenes from Potato Creek State Park and Warren Dunes . Also, sometimes I really miss seeing the red pine squirrels featured in this title–they’re just so cute!

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Drum Roll, Please…

by Casey Maynard on January 3rd, 2017

Image result for caldecott medal pngThe votes have been tallied with more than 100 cast for our Mock Caldecott nominees. Of the fifteen titles chosen we are naming one winner and five honor books as there was a tie for the fourth space. Without any further ado, let’s get to which titles you chose to represent ICPL’s first Mock Caldecott Award.

And the Winner is…

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Mock Caldecott Award 2016

by Casey Maynard on December 5th, 2016

This year we are trying something new at ICPL, a Mock Caldecott award.  Every year, the American Library Association awards the Randolph Caldecott Medal to a distinguished American picture book. For full eligibility requirements and criteria please visit the AlA’s Caldecott website. Also, stop by the Children’s Room to see a wonderful and informative display regarding the history of the award that Mari Redington has put together in the small display case.

Keeping eligibility requirements in mind we have put together a list of 15 possible contenders for the 2017 award. We ask that you read all of these titles before voting, or as many as you can get your hands on. When voting please pick and rank your top five titles: one winner (1) and four honor books (2-5). Paper ballots are available and are being collected at the Children’s Room Desk.  If you are unable to cast a paper ballot and are familiar with the titles, then please feel free to comment with your top five on or before December 31st.

We will be announcing the winning ICPL Caldecott titles at the beginning of 2017, shortly before the ALA midwinter meeting where they will be announcing the Medal and Honor winners.  How fun would it be if we have picked a winner or an honor book?!  Read the rest of this entry »


by Casey Maynard on August 11th, 2016

The final installment of Aaron Becker’s Journey trilogy is finally here and was it ever worth the wait. Return is a breathtaking finale that equals its prior installments in every way. Immensely detailed, cinematic and profound, Return is the perfect denouement to Becker’s seminal series. While in essence this is the culmination of the trilogy, Return denotes and necessitates a renaissance of the Journey,Return to the beginning.

For those of you unfamiliar with Aaron Becker’s work, I highly recommend starting at the beginning of his wordless Journey. Personally I have enjoyed going from start to finish to start–it’s incredible to compare the detail in these works side by side. I look forward to seeing where Aaron Becker will take us next but will go on this journey over and over both in anticipation and continuous wonder. 

Check out the videos below from his website–the first is a mini documentary about the making of Journey the second is the official book trailer for Return. 



Poor Little Guy

by Casey Maynard on July 18th, 2016

Elanna Allen, illustrator of the Violet Mackerel series, has released a new picture book–Poor Little Guy. Following the troubles of a tiny fish who, unfortunately, is caught in the clutches of a much larger bully–Poor Little Guy packs a surprising punch. Allen uses the entire picture book to move the narrative forward. This includes an initially subtle shift in the background palette as our protagonist gets consistently more frustrated, from blue-green to deep purple and back again as the situation resolves itself. Be certain to take extra care with the endsheets, framing, pacing, font and color choices within the work as each aspect of this book is purposeful. Children will delight in the triumph of the underdog and the foreshadowing of the further trials of our puffer protagonist. Fans of dark humor and just desserts will not be disappointed and will beg for rereads.

Click Poor Little Guy to see a book trailer from Penguin Young Readers Group.