The Ageless Story by Lauren Ford. Published 1939. Caldecott Honor 1940. ISBN: 9789997489920
The religious books on the Caldecott list are turning out to be my favorites, and this is no exception. The touching personal letter at the start of this book is a nice set-up for the antiphons that follow. The Latin Mass and Gregorian music are nearly lost, as the author points out, and this book does such a lovely job of keeping them alive for Catholics like myself who have grown up after Vatican II and don’t know so much of our own history. This book is great not just for kids, but for anyone wanting to recapture this piece of Catholic history. I will admit that the modernization of the Biblical stories to suit the surroundings of a more contemporary child is strange, but I do like that the author attempts to make ancient ideas relevant for her goddaughter’s generation.
Small Rain by Jessie Orton Jones, illustrated by Elisabeth O. Jones. Published 1943. Caldecott Honor 1944. Dutton Books. ISBN: 9780670050888
Every page of this book made me squeal or gasp or “aww” with delight. I’m absolutely in love with the sweet children in the illustrations. Their sense of innocence just tugs at my heartstrings, and the detail in their faces, clothes, and toys is just lovely. The illustrator’s style reminds me somewhat of Eloise Wilkin, whose books were among my childhood favorites. I love the way the book makes Biblical passages relevant to kids by using scenes from everyday life. There are so many wonderful images in this book, it would be impossible to name one favorite, but I think the one that sticks with me the most is the one where all the kids sit on the step of the schoolhouse making joyful noises unto the Lord. I want to own a copy of this book now!
Sing in Praise by Opal Wheeler, illustrated by Marjorie Torrey. Published 1946. Caldecott Honor 1947. ISBN: 9789997490247
I loved song books as a kid, and would definitely have loved this one, which is a collection of well-known Christian hymns. I knew most of them and found myself humming or singing them aloud as I went along, and it was neat to learn the stories behind each one and its creator. The accompanying paintings might not appeal much to today’s children, but they are very beautiful and have the right mood for a book with religious content. My favorite illustration is of the young girl in braids bowing her head to pray over her bowl before eating her meal. It’s one of the most relatable images, and involves a very common, but recognizable part of a child’s day.
See other Caldecott Challenge participants' blogs on the challenge page at LibLaura5. Follow my challenge progress here.