Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Caldecott Challenge #2

Blueberries for Sal, by Robert McClosky
Caldecott Honor, 1949

Little Sal and her mother set off to pick blueberries nearby their home in Maine. Each carries a pail for gathering berries: Mother plans to can her berries for the winter, and Sal comes along to help. Happily, Mother is not a task-master because Sal much prefers to eat her berries. When Sal digs into Mother's pail to sample a few, Mother reprimands her and Sal wanders off. 

At this point, we get a panoramic view of the hillside they're on - a large scrabbly landscape with lots to explore. When Sal realizes she's lost, she listens for sounds of her mother. But as she comes upon various woodland creatures she's surprised to find they are not her mother! We watch as she and a baby bear on the other side of the hill set a course of parallel adventures, each looking for their mothers and wandering closer to the other's mother.

The action is illustrated with detailed blue ink line drawings. As a child, my favorite pictures were the ones of Sal and her mother in the kitchen. I remember looking at those details, which even then created a scene of an old fashioned life, and feeling the satisfaction of canning blueberries. Reading it with my own children, the highlight was always the sound of the blueberries falling into the pail, "Kerplink, kerplank, kerplunk!"


This is one I've read about a thousand times. Just love it.


  1. This book was my Olivia's very favorite when she was two. She had it memorized and could recite the whole book verbatim, even turning the pages in the appropriate places. I have a recording of her doing it.

    1. Thanks for your comment Megan. This was a big favorite at our house too.

    2. This is one of my families favorites. My kiddos make me alternate pages "Little Oliver and Little Francesca" instead of Little Sal. I as well love the sound of the blueberries hitting the buckets.

  2. good luck as a winner...of edu blog