Tuesday, December 4, 2007

What are your favorite Caldecott books?

I've been thinking about the Caldecott Award lately. With a little over a month to go until this year's announcement, I've been pondering the books that have won in the past. With that in mind, I just added to the sidebar what may well be the longest blog poll ever. It asks what your favorite Caldecott medal winners are (multiple answers are allowed, of course). There are 70 possible choices, one for each book that has won since the first Caldecott was awarded in 1938.

I think these books have helped shape the body of American children's literature, whether we consciously realize it or not. It's an incredibly eye-opening experience to read each one... particularly some of the books that won decades ago, and to see how dramatically picture books have changed.

Wondering what the Caldecott Medal is? See the answer here. Here's a list of all the Caldecott Medalists, and here's a list of all the winners and honor books. And if this unbelievably lengthy poll works, I'll try the list of Newbery books next (which is even longer.)

This is a good place to mention that Leonard Marcus' fabulous book A Caldecott Celebration is being released in a brand new edition in February 2008. Marcus gives wonderful behind the scenes glimpses into seven Caldecott winning books and details the development process of each each one. The books he discusses are: Make Way for Ducklings, Cinderella, Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, Where the Wild Things Are, Jumanji, Tuesday and, just added for the new edition... The Man Who Walked Between the Towers. It's fascinating.

Are there Caldecott Medal winners that you love? Ones you've never heard of? Books that you just remembered when you read the list? Did you find a book that you didn't realize won the Caldecott?

Here are my personal favorite Caldecott winners:
  • 2007: Flotsam by David Wiesner
  • 2005: Kitten's First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes
  • 2004: The Man Who Walked Between the Towers
  • 2002: The Three Pigs by David Wiesner
  • 1996: Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathmann
  • 1994: Grandfather's Journey by Allen Say
  • 1992: Tuesday by David Wiesner
  • 1991: Black and White by David Macaulay
  • 1990: Lon Po Po: A Red-Riding Hood Story from China by Ed Young
  • 1986: The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
  • 1982: Jumanji by Chris Van Allsburg
  • 1968: Drummer Hoff illustrated by Ed Emberley; text: adapted by Barbara Emberley
  • 1964: Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
  • 1963: The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
  • 1955: Cinderella, or the Little Glass Slipper, illustrated by Marcia Brown; text: translated from Charles Perrault by Marcia Brown
  • 1954: Madeline's Rescue by Ludwig Bemelmans
  • 1943: The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton
  • 1942: Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey
What are your favorite Caldecott winners or honor books? Tell me in the comments section or vote in the poll. Or do both!


  1. When I read that list and started voting, I could not get the line
    "Drummer Hoff fired it off." out of my head. For some reason I loved that book when I was young. It was at my grandma's house and I read it ten million times.

  2. Megan- I agree! Once you've read Drummer Hoff, it's absolutely impossible to get the line "Drummer Hoff fired it off" out of your head. Every time I see the book, that sentence runs through my head for the rest of the day.

  3. I think I have read all of those on your list to my kids and they have loved all of those.

  4. Sea Star- thanks for the feedback! It's great to hear that other people (kids especially) love the same books I do.

  5. I'm totally biased toward books I loved from childhood. Aside from the usual suspects (Sendak, Keats) I loved the African folktales A Story, A Story and Why Mosquitos Buzz in People's Ears, and when I was in elementary school St. George and the Dragon was an artistic inspiration. Last year I was pleased Flotsam won; it was definitely my favorite picture book, visually.

  6. Lisa- I am too. The books I loved from childhood are always high on my favorites list. Why Mosquitos Buzz in People's Ears, A Story A Story and St. George and the Dragon are all great books. I was pleased Flotsam won last year too... I appreciate it more every time I read it.

  7. My favorites are all Caldecott Honor books... they include Olivia, Click, Clack, Moo, The Stinky Cheeseman, James Marshall's Goldilocks and the Three Bears and Strega Nona. If I were picking based on artwork alone, the list would be different, but those are some of my favorite stories.

  8. Liz- good point! There are so many fabulous honor books that I had to write a whole additional post about them. =)

  9. I had a copy of The Stinky Cheese Man. It came out when I was in high school and it was an inspiration for a project I did in my art class. I wonder if my sister knows what happened to that book...