Archive for January 14th, 2017


by Sam Juliano

It happened again.  In the four years I have written the Caldecott Medal Contender series there is always at least one title that doesn’t grab me initially, but when it does kick in the appreciation is cathartic.  Mind you the first connection with the book yielded multiple aesthetic dividends, and the concept was and remains rather ingenious, but there was something about the liberal use of white space that bothered me.  Perhaps I expected a brisker narrative pace or the mastery of that subtle picture book component regularly exhibited by Jon Klassen.  Or perhaps I may have been too impatient that day to sort out the insect language that was ushered in on the cover in grand style by way of one of the largest of voice bubbles.  But Du Iz Tak? by Carson Ellis in scheme alone requires far more than a cursory exploration.  Anything less than that is likely to result in a fragile opinion imminently doomed to reversal as soon as some extended scrutiny is offered up.  The final conclusion after a more intensive exploration of the forty-eight page work is no longer one wrought with reservations, but a firm conviction this is one of the treasures of 2016.  No wonder then, that various on-line prediction sites have been regularly touting the book as major contender, a position that actually first surfaced a few months before the book actually released.  Such was the advanced hoopla after some of the art was seen, but the respect for Ellis, who created the fabulous Home the previous year.  For me it is deja vu all over again.  Raul Colon’s Draw! was one of my two or three favorite books of 2014, yet for several months after it released I couldn’t seem to get behind it emotionally.  All that changed in a big way. (more…)

Read Full Post »