Saturday, September 6, 2008

A Caldecott Celebration: Six Artists and Their Paths to the Caldecott Medal

Marcus, Leonard S. 1998. A Caldecott Celebration: Six Artists and Their Paths to the Caldecott Medal. New York: Walker and Company. ISBN 080278651

Plot Summary: Leonard Marcus gives us a book highlighting six Caldecott-winning books which span the six decades of that medal's history. The book answers many children's questions of "How did the author/illustrator come up with the ideas for his/her book?"

Critical Analysis: Leonard Marcus begins his work by explaining the background of the Caldecott medal but doesn't bore one with too many dates and details. After the introduction, he highlights a winner from each decade, giving the reader insight into why the author/illustrator wrote the story and how he/she designed the illustrations. Leonard Marcus encourages young readers by detailing how many of the illustrations started out with very simple thumbnail sketches, and that many illustrations took several weeks or even months before the illustrator considered the drawings to be done.
The Text is appropriately written in chronological order describing the book from start to finish and makes good use of the artists' original work showing sketches, thumbnails, and the final product.

Review Excerpts:
Booklist: "A beautifully made book"

The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books: "Eminently satisfying"

School Library Journal: "While the focus is on the creation of the award-winning books, a great deal of background about the artists' lives and the way in which they work is given. The large, attractive pages invite readers to savor the multitude of illustrators."

Use the book as a spring board for book talks that include discussions about illustrations, not just the text or story.

Introduce the year's medal winners by showing past winners and their books.

Encourage students to illustrate a page or two for a book that does not have an illustration on every page and display in the library.

Other books about artists and illustrators:
Artist to Artist: 23 Major Illustrators Talk to Children about Their Art
ISBN 9780399246005
Pass It Down: Five Picture Book Families Make Their Mark
ISBN 0802796001

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