Tuesday, January 26, 2016

My New Favorite Snow Book

There's not much more to say about snow, is there?  It's white, it's wet, it's cold.  Kids sled, build snowmen, throw snowballs.  You know the drill.

But the difference lies in how it is said, and, more importantly here, how it is shown.

Into the Snow is a beautiful, playful book. Using colors that look like they come straight out of the Crayola box (one of the smaller sets, not the 64-crayon one!), with a texture that almost looks like rubbings (it turns out that the artist used oil pastels, gouache, acrylic colors and colored pencils), illustrator Masamitsu Saito perfectly captures a child's playfulness, fear, wonder, and exhaustion in a style all his own.  From the cover, on which our nameless child narrator mischievously pulls his hat down over his eyes, throughout the story as he works hard to pull his sled up the hill, and until he has had enough and goes back inside for the warm, cozy comfort of a cup of hot chocolate with mama, Saito renders each moment with warmth (or coldness, as the case may be!).

Author Yuki Kaneko's language is simple but vivid: "I've found an icicle.  It is shiny and clear like glass." and, at times, whimsical: "Oops, I snapped it.  I hope I didn't upset an ice fairy."

This book does the impossible: it makes playing in the snow fresh and new again.

A lovely book for toddlers and preschoolers - and their parents.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

The Results: Mockdecott 2016

The votes, all 162 of them, are in.  I have tallied and multiplied and added and my school's mock Caldecott winner was Drum Dream Girl!

The standings were as follows:

  1. Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl's Courage Changed Music by Margarita Engle, illustrated by Rafael Lopez
  2. We Forgot Brock!, written and illustrated by Carter Goodrich
  3. Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World's Most Famous Bear by Lindsay Mattick, illustrated by Sophie Blackall
  4. Tricky Vic: The Impossibly True Story of the Man Who Sold the Eiffel Tower, written and illustrated by Greg Pizzoli
  5. A Fine Dessert: Four Centuries, Four Families, One Delicious Treat by Emily Jenkins, illustrated by Sophie Blackall
  6. In a Village by the Sea by Muon Van, illustrated by Amy Chu
  7. My Pen, written and illustrated by Christopher Myers
  8. Waiting, written and illustrated by Kevin Henkes
  9. Water is Water: A Book About the Water Cycle by Miranda Paul, illustrated by Jason Chin
  10. Home, written and illustrated by Carson Ellis
  11. Lenny & Lucy by Phillip C. Stead, illustrated by Erin E. Stead
  12. The Whisper, written and illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski

Did the fact that I read Drum Dream Girl and We Forgot Brock! to many classes play a role?  I'm sure.  In retrospect, I wish I'd omitted We Forgot Brock! (which admittedly had a story that really appealed to the children) from the nominees and replaced it with Last Stop on Market Street.  I also wish I could have included Wait.

I'm looking forward to the announcements of the real awards tomorrow!