Monday, August 30, 2010

2011 Caldecott Predictions

Caldecott predictions already? But, Susan, it's only August.

Yes, I know. But 2010 has been such a fantastic year for picture books that I want to get my predictions in early, before everyone else starts making them. I've seen one beautiful, poignant, funny, wonderful book after another.

Where to start? Here are some of the ones that have stood out from the crowd for me.

There's the beautiful and touching City Dog, Country Frog by Mo Williams, with amazing watercolor illustrations by John Muth.

There's the funny and spunky Dotty by Erica Perl, illustrated by Julia Denos.

There's Feeding the Sheep by Leda Schubert with wonderful text and exuberant pictures by Andrea U'ren. (Don't write this one off as just another "how something is made" book.)

There's the endearing and deceptively simple How Rocket Learned to Read by Tad Hills. (See my review here.)

But, I'm afraid that these books (along with a few others) are going to have to slug it out to see which ones get Caldecott honors.

Because this one blows them all away.

I can hear a question forming on your lips. It sounds something like this:

"David Wiesner?! AGAIN?!! Doesn't that man have enough awards??"

And I have a question for you in return.

"Have you read Art & Max?"

When you do, you'll see that this incomparable illustrator has topped both the competition and himself. Again. Talk about a genius. When a copy of this book finds it's way into your hands, savor it. Read each panel slowly. Spend some time with it. Take a look at this video.

And then, sit back, and wait for January 9, 2011 when we'll find out if Wiesner becomes the most decorated Caldecott Medalist in history.


  1. I'm looking forward to Art and Max (for obvious reasons!), but while I admire Wiesner's work, I don't always love it. Maybe this will be Jule Paschkis's year? Hmmm...time to start thinking!

  2. Anamaria-
    I can definitely understand that feeling, and I think a lot of people feel that way about David Wiesner's books. But this one is completely different. It's funny, it's silly, it's endearing, it's got great characters... it even has words!

    For me, it was like The Lion and the Mouse... after I read Art & Max, all the other books paled in comparison. Of course, nothing is ever certain and it could always be anyone's year. But... well, just read the book first (I have a copy) to see what I mean.

  3. i'm sure "art and max" will be brilliant, but i LOVED "city dog" and "how rocket" OH, SO MUCH. (although its a little early for caldecott predictions susan... dontcha think??)

  4. "City Dog Country Frog" was fantastic. But I predict "Dotty" will be the upset winner!

  5. Tess- I love City Dog, Country Frog and How Rocket Learned to Read so much too. They're both brilliant books.

    Yes, it's waaaay too early for Caldecott predictions... and there's more that will probably end up on my list. But I wanted to go on the record with some of my guesses now... particularly before Art & Max builds buzz. Plus, they're all wonderful books worth checking out... Caldecott sticker or not.

    Anonymous- I love Dotty and so does my son. It's really a special book. The last page is the best!

  6. No, I haven't had a look at Art & Max yet, but after a review like that, you can bet it is now on my list of need to reads.

  7. Art and Max is beautifully illustrated. It's so captivating I could frame every page! I LOVE it!
    I liked the illustrations in City Dog better than I did the story. I guess Mo isn't perfect like I thought. LOL.