Thursday, February 26, 2009

In the Forest

Finished In the Forest by Marie Hall Ets. It won the Caldecott Honor Medal in 1945. It is the story of a boy who walks through the forest blowing his horn and the various animals who join him on his walk. The illustrations are done in charcoal and have a lovely soft feeling to them. A few of the drawings reminded me of Where the Wild Things Are in terms of composition. A nice little picture book.

Marie Hall Ets won the the Caldecott Medal in 1960 for Nine Day's to Christmas. She won the Caldecott Honor Medal many other times for Mr. T. W. Anthony Woo (1952), Play with Me (1956), Mr. Penny's Race Horse (1957) and Just Me (1966).

Lamb in His Bosom

Finished Lamb in His Bosom by Caroline Miller. It won the Pulitzer in 1934. This was Miller's first novel and a bestseller at the time it was published. It's the story of a family living the the back woods of Georgia during the decades leading up to the Civil War. In many ways it reminded me of Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House in the Big Woods, only written for an adult audience. Everything is explained in terms of how everyday items, like candles and clothes, are made from scratch. The characters are engaging and endearing. The prose is so beautifully written, so poetic, that at times it took my breath away. It was also interesting to consider how far removed the characters in this book were from the issues that lead up to the Civil War.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Whose Body?

Finished Whose Body? by Dorothy L. Sayers. This is her first Lord Peter Wimsey mystery published in 1923. The Anglophiles Anonymous group I belong to on Shelfari chose this as a group read. It was already on my TBR list so I was happy to participate. This series falls into the genre of cozy mysteries, like Miss Marple. Lord Peter is a charming man of excellent taste who dabbles is sleuthing recreationally. His valet, Bunter, is reminiscent of Jeeves, minus the constant disapproval.

The book itself was a quick read and quite funny at times. The mystery was pretty easy to figure out. The motivation for the murder which takes place seems weak and the long written confession towards the end was downright boring. However, I enjoyed the book overall and look forward to reading more Lord Peter mysteries in the future.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Mother Goose

Finished Mother Goose, illustrated by Tasha Tudor. It won the Caldecott Honor Medal in 1945. Up until this time I was most familiar with Tudor's illustrations for The Secret Garden and A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett. In Mother Goose each nursery rhyme has its own page and illustration. These are finely detailed, sometimes in pencil, sometimes watercolor. I was surprised at how many of the nursery rhymes I remembered and even knew by heart. I grew up with The Real Mother Goose illustrated by Blanche Fisher Wright, originally published in 1916.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Prayer for a Child

Finished Prayer for a Child written by Rachael Field and illustrated by Elizabeth Orton Jones. It won the Caldecott Medal in 1945. Field wrote a poem for her daughter which was later developed into this picture book. The tone of the poem and the illustrations is very gentle. The pictures are soft and representational. Several show a little girl in her own room with a drawing she has done tacked up over the bed. The drawing is wonderfully juvenile, absolutely age specific for this little girl. Also, there is a line in the poem which reads,

"Bless other children far and near
And keep them safe and free from fear."

The accompanying illustration is of a crowd of children from many different races and nationalities, all standing together. An interesting drawing for 1944. I mentioned Orton Jones' display of diversity in her drawings in my post about Small Rain: Verses from The Bible in January 2009.

Rachel Field Won the Newbery Medal in 1930 for Hitty, Her First Hundred Years and the Newbery Honor Medal in 1932 for Calico Bush. Field also wrote novels for adults including All This and Heaven Too which was made into a film starring Bette Davis and Charles Boyer in 1938.

This was an interlibrary loan from the Wickson Memorial Library in Frankenmuth, Michigan.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Gay Neck, The Story of a Pigeon

Finished Gay Neck, The Story of a Pigeon by Dhan Gopal Mukerji. It won the Newbery Medal in 1928. Set mostly in the Himalayas and partially in France during World War I, this is the story of a carrier pigeon. He is named Gay Neck for the colorful feathers about his neck. He is raised by an Indian boy. Gay Neck's parents teach him to fly, but the boy teaches him to be a carrier pigeon. His skills are so fine that he is recruited to work with the allies during the war. This book clearly illustrates that it is a bird-eat-bird world out there. Gay Neck's parents and many other birds are attacked and eaten by eagles, hawks, owls, vultures and crows. At times it was pretty damn disturbing, especially before bedtime.

Nonetheless, the book is an exciting one and the story holds your interest. I think perhaps the older end of the Newbery audience would enjoy it, but it might be too unsettling for younger readers.

The Mighty Hunter

Finished The Mighty Hunter by Berta and Elmer Hader. It won the Caldecott Honor Medal in 1944. It is the story of a small Native American boy who wishes to be known as a great hunter. One day instead of going to school he takes his bow and his arrows and goes hunting. The first creature he sees is a rat. He takes aim, but the rat tells him he is too small for a mighty hunter to shoot and takes him to where the boy will find a prairie dog. Again the boy aims, but the prairie dog tells him he knows where the mighty hunter can find a rabbit. This continues with each animal recommending a larger target, until finally the little mighty hunter takes aim at a grizzly bear with two cubs. She chides him, then roars so fiercely that the mighty hunter drops his bow and arrows and runs all the way to the school house.

This book is simple with very warmly painted illustrations. The Haders won the Caldecott Medal in 1949 for their book The Big Snow.