The Caldecott winner and honor books are here! While at the University of Alabama, I participated in mock Caldecott and Newbery award committees on several occasions. My professor served on both and all the books to be considered for the awards were mailed to her.
We did a vital job by indicating which books really stood out in the sea of material. Probably 450-600 Caldecott potentials and 75-150 Newberys in a given year, we divided the spoils amongst classes and got to reading. At the end of the semester, we rallied support for our favorites. The professor then used the standouts to cull from for final consideration.
Caldecott suggestions are scrutinized for all kinds of reason. A story with a plot is considered higher quality than one following basic themes like colors, numbers and seasons. A plot that can be developed with less wordage is favored since the target audience might wander off during readings.
Picture books that are considered tend to stay within the 32-illustrated pages format. Illustrations can make or break a contender, too. Water color, collage, oils, mixed media, pen and ink, even computer generated illustration are considered. The book “Wave” by Suzy Lee tells the story through water color and chalks without every using a word. It should have received an honor.
This is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen is the 2013 Caldecott winner. Klassen is an animator by trade, but found he resorted to favorite children’s books for inspiration in animation. His love for the Frog and Toad series is clearly seen in his nod to the green-mustard colors used in This is Not My Hat.
Klassen’s technique is a mixture of water and computer generated colors in a “camo” theme with a black background. His main character, a fish, looks like he is made of sand. The story involves little fish taking a hat from big fish while he naps. In order to keep the stolen treasure, little his is heading for the tall seaweed to try and blend in.
This is Not My Hat not only tells a story with a clever plot and calming camouflage, it also has a moral. A true Caldecott winner in every aspect, this book belongs amongst the greats.