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Kim's Book Reviews
| Home | Picture Books | Traditional Literature | Poetry | Nonfiction | Historical Fiction | Fantasy & Young Adult Fiction | Author Study: Lois Ehlert

by Marcus S. Leonard


Marcus, Leonard S. A CALDECOTT CELEBRATION. New York:Walker and Company,1998. ISBN 0802786588.
To celebrate the sixtieth anniversary of the Caldecott Medal, Leonard Marcus profiles six of the award's recipients: Robert McClosky, Marcia Brown, Maurice Sendak, William Steig, Chris Van Allsburg, and David Wiesner.
Marcus has chosen one book from each decade of the award, creating a study of the American picture book through time. Within these six profiles, we see how both artistic styles and printing technology have changed over the past sixty years. The layout of the book is logical. It begins with an introduction which gives information about Randolph Caldecott and the award named in his honor, then progresses from Robert McClosky's MAKE WAY FOR DUCKLINGS, the 1942 winner, to David Wiesner's TUESDAY, which received the honor in 1992. Since each artist is dealt with in a separate chapter, there are natural stopping points for younger readers. The book takes the reader into the studios of these talented artists and allows us to see how their work progressed from initial sketches and doodles to award-winning art. The illustrations in the book, which include photos of the artists, early sketches and dummies, and finished works, contribute to the reader gaining an understanding of how their favorite books were created.
In addition to giving a brief description of each artist's childhood, Marcus includes other details of interest to children: Robert McClosky keeping sixteen ducks in his apartment, David Wiesner sketching the concept for TUESDAY while on an airplane, and Maurice Sendak giving his protagonist a name beginning with an "M" in honor of himself and his childhood hero, Mickey Mouse. Readers of all ages will be interested to learn about the artist's reactions to receiving this honor and how their careers changed as a result of the award. This inspiring book will appeal to both those who enjoy viewing illustrations in children's books and those who aspire to create them.
Information on the life and works of Randolph Caldecott can be found at
Information on the Caldecott Medal can be found at

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