This year’s winner of the Caldecott Medal is This Is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen (Candlewick Press, 2012). This story is a big fish tale, but not in the way you might think. It’s also a small fish tale about a small fish who stole the hat of a big fish. He’s pretty sure he can get away with it, but stealing is wrong, isn’t it? Do you think he’ll get away with it? Do you think he should? This story certainly made me smile. Mr. Klassen does a superb job moving the story along with short sentences and illustrations that change ever so slightly as they move to the right and off of the page.
The ALSC chose five honor books this year! Among them is Creepy Carrots by Aaron Reynolds and illustrated by Peter Brown (Simon & Schuster, 2012). This fun picture book is cleverly illustrated with just enough color to set an eerie mood. If picture books were horror movies, this one would be rated G. It’s just so much fun; I read it three or four times. Jasper Rabbit has this terrible feeling that carrots are following him. Is it his imagination? Or have the creepy carrots devised a plan to keep Jasper out of the carrot patch?
Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Jon Klassen (Balzer+Bray, 2012) is my favorite of the picks this year. The story includes everything from a magic box of colorful yarn, to an evil archduke, to a sweet, young heroine who cares very much for her town. I like how the town gets more and more colorful as the story goes along. But the best part is the quiet, unassuming, and peaceful ending.
This honor book simply titled Green by Laura Vaccaro Seeger (Roaring Brook Press, 2012) is beautifully illustrated in different shades of green, one of my favorite colors. It sports minimal text and peek-a-boo cut outs on several of the pages, which tie one page cleverly to the next. As you may guess, all of the illustrations depict the great outdoors and the natural beauty of the world, and showcase trees, flowers, animals, vegetables, and more.
One Cool Friend by Toni Buzzeo and illustrated by David Small (Dial Books, 2012) stars a polite, young boy named Elliot who decides he wants a penguin. I like Elliot; he has a lot of character. I like the combination of color and black and white for the multimedia illustrations. My favorite picture shows Elliot and the penguin skating in his room. This is a fun story that will make you laugh. And the twist at the end is the best!
Sleep Like a Tiger by Mary Logue and illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski (Houghton Mifflin Books, 2012) is a dreamy, bedtime story with muted colors that fill up the pages. The paintings are a mix of fantasy and reality and, along with the solid text, tell the story of a young girl who doesn’t want to go to sleep. I just love the pictures of the dog asleep on the couch; just gorgeous!