I often wish picture books had an award of their own. Now, I know you are thinking that I am an awfully silly librarian for not knowing that picture books do have an award of their own; but the Caldecott award is for the best illustrations. I wish picture books also had an overall best picture book award, and I am talking about a "big" award. Sure, there are awards for the best picture books within a state, but why isn't there an equivalent Newberry, Printz, or Caldecott for the best picture book (pictures and words... b/c that is what makes a really great picture book)? Alright, enough of that soapbox. Pressing forward to what I think of this year's Caldecott award winners.
I am not artist. I like pictures and other forms of art, but I am definitely not an "artist." I am not sure I appreciate good art at the same level I know other "artist" friends do. However, I do know picture books, and I enjoy a picture book when the artwork is at the same caliber as the writing. I usually read the Caldecott award/honor winners for the words and enjoy the pictures second. However, that is obviously not how the award is given since it is for a picture book with the best illustrations. I read all three Caldecott award/honor winners and I thought all of the books have beautiful pictures. Again, I am not artist, but all three books had fabulous pictures that are of very different styles.
Dave the Potter written by Laban Carrick Hill and illustrated by Bryan Collier is a biography picture book that is a Caldecott Honor book. It is enjoyable, though I don't think I am going to purchase this book for myself. The pictures have wonderful coloring and angles to make it unique and interesting. Interrupting Chicken written and illustrated by David Ezra Stein is another Caldecott Honor book. I personally find it to be awfully impressive when someone can write and illustrate the books. I give those impressive authors/illustrators major props. In the book the style of the pictures is enjoyable and unique; the story is cute. It is an enjoyable read. I am not sure I'll purchase the book for myself, but if I was still an elementary school librarian then I think I would get it for library. Definitely check it out from the library. It'll be an enjoyable read.
A Sick Day for Amos McGee written by Philip C Stead and illustrated by Erin E. Stead is the Caldecott Award Winner for 2011. They are quite the creative husband and wife team. Philip Stead has written and illustrated two other books; Erin Stead is illustrating her first book. I'd have to say that winning the Caldecott for the first book you've illustrated is quite the honor. I'm not sure where you go from there, but it is impressive nonetheless. All in all the book is quite cute. The cover, words, pictures, and even the coloring is "cute." I'm not sure if it is b/c they are a husband/wife team but the style of the words and the style of the pictures go very well together. I enjoyed the writing and the story just as much as the pictures. I actually might purchase this book. It is a simple story, and it would make a great reading to a younger child.
The story is about Amos who works at the zoo. He becomes sick and has to take a sick day. The animals that he works with miss him and come to visit him. All in all, the story is simple but loving. You feel a since of love for the simple characters and their unique traits. Be sure to check this book out. It is an enjoyable one!