Friday, January 18, 2008

A Caldecott Adventure

Today I took a journey
through the titles of
70 years of Caldecott winners.

Here are my thoughts
as I traveled back in time
in chronological order
from 2008 to 1938.

I was thinking about

the invention of Hugo Cabret

as I watched
flotsam float by
the hello goodbye window

It was the night of kitten's first full moon as
the man who walked between the towers
strolled past with my friend rabbit

the three pigs

“So you want to be president?” asked the pigs.
“Joseph had a little overcoat,”
I answered,
which I could have borrowed for the inauguration.

But he lost it.

“Ask Snowflake Bentley, Rapunzel and Golem,”
replied the pigs.

“Or try Officer Buckle and Gloria.
They never go anywhere without a buddy.”

I left the pigs on that smoky night to set off on
my grandfather's journey.
I passed Mirette on the high wire
(who gave her regards to the man who walked between the towers.)

It was Tuesday and I had
black and white overcoat with me
(although I would have preferred Joseph’s.)

I met Lon Po Po as I traveled
through the forest.
Up ahead we could hear
the song and dance man.

I waited for the owl moon.
Just as it appeared in the sky,
I saw my best friend.

“Hey, Al!”
I called.

He was waiting for me on the Polar Express
along with Saint George and the dragon.
The train broke down so we took a glorious flight
through the

It was a long trip so we played
a game of

and told each other fables.

Finally, our plane landed.
The ox-cart man and the
girl who loved wild horses
brought us to Noah’s ark.

There we learned all the letters
from ashanti to zulu
and found out why mosquitoes
buzz in people's ears

Noah shot an arrow to the sun
and the ark stopped.
Duffy and the devil
and the funny little woman
met us when we arrived.

Because it was
one fine day
they told us a story.

It was a story about
Sylvester and the magic pebble and
the fool of the world and the flying ship.

They tried to introduce us to drummer Hoff
but he was too busy firing it off
Sam, Bangs & Moonshine

By now, we’d gathered quite a crowd.
“There’s always room for one more,” said Al.
“May I bring a friend?” I asked.

I knew it was scary to travel through the land
where the wild things are
especially on a
snowy day.

“There was once a mouse,” said Al,
“who was brave enough to visit
Baboushka and the three kings.

"You are just as courageous as he was.
But, since it's nine days to Christmas
take Chanticleer and the fox with you."

My travels became a time of wonder and
I realized that a tree is nice,
especially when you need a place to rest.

The amphibian I had met on Tuesday disappeared.
I think that frog went a-courtin'
at Cinderella’s house.

Fortunately, he returned in time for
Madeline's rescue

from the biggest bear.

He tried to take Madeline’s dog,
but she told him:
“finders, keepers.”

The frog left us again under
the egg tree when he heard the
song of the swallows.

We started to head home
but suddenly there was a
big snow.
We persevered, although
we were surrounded
by white snow.

The bright snow was blinding
so we stopped for the night on

the little island
where the rooster crows

I bid goodbye to all my friends
and said a prayer for a child,
especially the youngest one,

I think I accomplished the
journey my grandfather dreamed about

many moons ago, before
the little house had to move
to make way for ducklings.

I thought about all the travelers I had
encountered on my adventure
and realized that

they were strong
and good

I wish I had met
Abraham Lincoln and Mei Li
but maybe they’ll come
next time.

Finally, I parted from
the animals of the Bible
that I had met on Noah’s ark
and headed home on
the repaired Polar Express.

Hugo Cabret said he’d meet me
at the train station.

by Susan Kusel
, copyright 2008


  1. Way too cute! I can tell you really had fun with this one. :-)

  2. Thanks, Lisa! I had a huge amount of fun writing it... although some parts were pretty tricky.

  3. Fun stuff. I love the last lines especially.

  4. Thanks Jen! The last line is my favorite. I came up with it early on... and had to work the rest of the piece around it to fit it in.

  5. What fun! Makes me want to do something like this with other lists--maybe Oscars?

  6. Candice- Yes, the Oscars would be a lot of fun to try! Or the Newberys.

    The tricky thing is keeping the winners in chronological order... it would be so much easier to group the titles by theme.