One of the highest honors a children's book illustrator can receive is the Randolph Caldecott Medal awarded annually by the American Library Association (ALA). While authors receive honors like the Newbery Medal or Michael L. Printz Award for literature, awards that honor artists who illustrate children's books are not as plentiful. On Mon.. Jan. 28, the one Caldecott Medal winner and five Caldecott Honor winners were announced at the ALA's annual Youth Media Awards ceremony in Seattle, Wash.
"This is Not My Hat" (Candlewick) written and illustrated by Jon Klassen is the 2013 Caldecott Medal winner. This title is a follow-up to Klassen's best seller, "I Want My Hat Back." This time around the story is told from the perspective of the fish who stole the hat in the first tale. Readers will laugh as the thief rationalizes his actions and receives his just reward. Perfectly illustrated to reflect the murky undersea world the fish live in, kids will enjoy looking at the pictures again and again.
"Creepy Carrots!" (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers) illustrated by Peter Brown and written by Aaron Reynolds is a Caldecott Honor winner. It's the story of a little rabbit who fears that the carrots he enjoys eating so much are out to get him. They seem to be following him everywhere he goes. The illustrations are paired with text that reflects the twisted thoughts of a bunny with a big imagination.
"Extra Yarn" (Balzer + Bray) is illustrated by Jon Klassen (the Caldecott Medal winner) and written by Mac Barnett is another of this year's Caldecott Honor books. The monochromatic world of Annabelle explodes with color as she knits clothing for everyone in town from her seemingly endless box of yarn. Soon everything and every creature in her village is covered in knitted and colorful creations and Annabelle's world is no longer drab. With the edition of each knitted piece, the illustrations get more colorful; it's a perfect book to chase away the winter doldrums.
"Green" illustrated and written by Laura Vaccaro Seeger (Roaring Brook Press) was also named a Caldecott Honor book this year. With nothing but the color green as a basis for the illustrations, the cut-out images move from the dark, lush green of a forest to the tart, neon green of a slice of lime. Kids will love discovering the varieties of green in the book as well as in the world around them.
"One Cool Friend" illustrated by David Small and written by Toni Buzzeo (Dial) is the second Caldecott Honor book this year to feature black and white illustrations with pops of color. Unlike "Extra Yarn" though, this book is all about the classic black and white of a suit and tie. Elliot prefers to dress the part of a gentleman in his everyday life, so he is reluctant to take part in such a trivial excursion as a trip to the aquarium with his father. Once there, however, he discovers one of the animals that seems to have the same taste in color and style as himself. He decides to bring his friend - a penguin - home with him and all sorts of antics soon follow.
"Sleep Like a Tiger" illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski and written by Mary Logue (Houghton Mifflin Books for Children) is the final Caldecott Honor book for 2013. Every parent has experienced a child unwilling to go to sleep and the struggles to convince the child it is really the best. The child in this story asks if everything in the world goes to sleep and through the back and forth conversation between the child and the parents, she finally decides she is ready to rest for the night. The mixed-media illustrations are whimsical and filled with detail that will entertain readers for hours.