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Archive for January 26th, 2014

by Sam Juliano

For the final post in my long-running Caldecott Medal contender series I will provide the covers of five final books that must surely be considered in the running.  At least two of these five (the magnificent The Mighty Lalouche and Water in the Park) are among my favorite children’s books of the year, so the failure to write about them really has nothing at all to do their exceeding beauty and quality, but far more to do with the fact that I have run out of time.  As it is I was forced to go into overdrive over the last few days to cram in all the worthy titles, but the downside of that frantic activity was to leave all the readers, over-saturated because of the multiple posts and multiple titles on some of those posts.  I really should have begun the series earlier, but perhaps some of the readership to this point have seen what they need to see.  Ha!  I want to thank all those who took a look at the posts and especially those who took the time to leave comments.  Laurie Buchanan of Crystal Lake, Illinois has been a miracle for the series, though this very dear friend has been an inspiration to all of us in more ways than one.  Her appearance at all the posts were motivational and fabulously constructive, and the corresponding tags on Facebook showed yet again the extent that this amazing lady will go to when she believes in something.  I am frankly overwhelmed by what she has accomplished here. A great big thank you as well to my very good friend and colleague Frank Gallo, the great writer and good friend John Grant (Paul Barnett), my site friend the consummate gentleman and scholar Jim Clark, the incomparable Pierre de Plume,  the wonderful “find along the way” librarian Celeste Fenster, my long time friend and book lover Tim McCoy, the stupendous Peter M., my fabulous friend from the U.K. the wonderful Judy Geater, and of course that Australian soul-mate Tony d’Ambra who has done nothing but offer encouragement, physical assistance and incalculable support, and all others who added to the conversations.  It was a special thrill to hear from a number of the authors and illustrators who either commented on these pages or on Facebook and comment threads at the Horn Book.  I thank you Carin Berger (Stardines), Aaron Becker (Journey), Jennifer Berne (On A Beam of Light), Bob Staake (Bluebird)  Bob Shea Unicorn) and Yuyi Morales (Nino Wrestles the World) for bringing a huge smile to my face with your appreciative acknowledgements. (more…)

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by Sam Juliano

Two of 2013’s most popular picture books in the stores and the libraries are also two of the most brilliantly-conceived and artistically accomplished of the year.  They are united on this Sunday morning post because of their subversive underpinnings, though the second of the pair, Jon Scieszka and Mac Barnett’s irreverent Battle Bunny is the subversive champ in a year that also features the magnificent Mr. Tiger Goes Wild in that department.  These are books of uncommon artistic unity – The Snickett/Klassen collaboration The Dark showcases some of the finest art to be seen in any picture book this year, while Battle Bunny desecrates the art of book making, capturing all the fun seen through the eyes of a child looking to do some mischief.  Both books are extraordinary and deserve close scrutiny of the American Library Association’s Caldecott committee on Monday. (more…)

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