I'm discovering some wonderful books in our library thanks to the Caldecott Challenge: I'm trying to read every award and honor winner since the awards began in 1938.
Here are some gems I never knew about!
(Caldecott Honor, 1963)
A young girl consults a rabbit about what to get for her mother for a birthday present.
As they discuss the options, they walk through lovely pastoral scenery, and we imagine a perfectly gorgeous spring day.
The illustrations by Sendak show the girl and rabbit as equals, their expressions even matching at times. She is not imagining this conversation - it's happening. This would make a good addition to our PreK color unit since she wants to give her mother items of various colors.
My Mother is the Most Beautiful Woman in the World, by Becky Ryher, illustrated by Ruth Gant
(Caldecott Honor, 1946)
A young girl from the Ukraine loses her mother because she's napping in the fields instead of helping with the harvest. When she comes upon a group of adults willing to help her, she can only think of one bit of information to help locate her mother: She's the most beautiful woman in the world.
Word spreads far and wide and many beauties are called in, but none are the girl's mother. When her mother does eventually appear, everyone has the most heart-warming surprise to see her "true" appearance. Tear-jerker alert!
The illustrations almost look like old newsprint technology, tiny dots create the shapes, colors, and shading.
The Emperor and the Kite, by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Ed Young (Caldecott Honor, 1968)
This Chinese folktale tells the story of a young oft-forgotten princess and her father. The little girl is always left behind and everyone pretty much forgets about her. She flies kites to entertain herself.
One day, her father is kidnapped, and she is the one who figures out how to save him. This is visually stunning, an exceptional example of effective use of white space. Watercolor paintings reminiscent of paper cut illustrations tie the story to its heritage and add vibrancy to each page.