Saturday, September 20, 2008

Caldecott Award Winners

The Randolph Caldecott Medal -- for best children's illustrators!

The medal has been awarded to children’s book illustrators since 1938 by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association (ALA). Several books each year are also named as honor books. The award started because after years of awarding the Newbery Medal for the most distinguished children’s literature published the prior year, ALA decided that illustrators also deserved recognition. The medal is given to the artist who created the most distinguished picture book of the year. It was named in honor of the 19-century English illustrator Randolph J. Caldecott.

Caldecott – along with Kate Greenaway and Walter Crane -- were three influential 19th-century British children's illustrators. Caldecott’s illustrations were unique because they wonderfully complemented the stories they accompanied.

The illustration on the Caldecott Medal, designed by 1937 René Paul Chambellan in 1937, depicts one of Caldecott's illustrations for "The Diverting Story of John Gilpin." It is a perfect example of the humor, vitality, and sense of movement found in Caldecott's work. The illustration shows John Gilpin astride a runaway horse, accompanied by squawking geese, braying dogs, and startled onlookers.

One of our recent favorites is David Wiesner's Flotsam, which won the award in 2007. No words, but the exceptional illustrations tell quite a story!

Here's a list of the all of the Caldecott medal winners, from 1938:

2008: Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick (Scholastic Press, an imprint of Scholastic)
Flotsam by David Wiesner (Clarion)
The Hello, Goodbye Window Illustrated by Chris Raschka, written by Norton Juster (Michael di Capua/Hyperion)
Kitten's First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes (Greenwillow Books/HarperCollinsPublishers)
The Man Who Walked Between the Towers by Mordicai Gerstein (Roaring Brook Press/Millbrook Press)
My Friend Rabbit by Eric Rohmann (Roaring Brook Press/Millbrook Press)
The Three Pigs by David Wiesner (Clarion/Houghton Mifflin)
So You Want to Be President? Illustrated by David Small; text by Judith St. George (Philomel Books)
Joseph Had a Little Overcoat Simms Taback (Viking)
Snowflake Bentley, Illustrated by Mary Azarian; text by Jacqueline Briggs Martin (Houghton)
Rapunzel by Paul O. Zelinsky (Dutton)
Golem by David Wisniewski (Clarion)
Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathmann (Putnam)
1995: Smoky Night, illustrated by David Diaz; text: Eve Bunting (Harcourt)

1994: Grandfather's Journey by Allen Say; text: edited by Walter Lorraine (Houghton)
1993: Mirette on the High Wire by Emily Arnold McCully (Putnam)
1992: Tuesday by David Wiesner (Clarion Books)
1991: Black and White by David Macaulay (Houghton)
1990: Lon Po Po: A Red-Riding Hood Story from China by Ed Young (Philomel)
1989: Song and Dance Man, illustrated by Stephen Gammell; text: Karen Ackerman (Knopf)
1988: Owl Moon, illustrated by John Schoenherr; text: Jane Yolen (Philomel)
1987: Hey, Al, illustrated by Richard Egielski; text: Arthur Yorinks (Farrar)
1986: The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg (Houghton)
1985: Saint George and the Dragon, illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman; text: retold by Margaret Hodges (Little, Brown)
1984: The Glorious Flight: Across the Channel with Louis Bleriot by Alice & Martin Provensen (Viking)
1983: Shadow, translated and illustrated by Marcia Brown; original text in French: Blaise Cendrars (Scribner)
1982: Jumanji by Chris Van Allsburg (Houghton)
1981: Fables by Arnold Lobel (Harper)
1980: Ox-Cart Man, illustrated by Barbara Cooney; text: Donald Hall (Viking)
1979: The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses by Paul Goble (Bradbury)
1978: Noah's Ark by Peter Spier (Doubleday)
1977: Ashanti to Zulu: African Traditions, illustrated by Leo & Diane Dillon; text: Margaret Musgrove (Dial)
1976: Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears, illustrated by Leo & Diane Dillon; text: retold by Verna Aardema (Dial)
1975: Arrow to the Sun by Gerald McDermott (Viking)
1974: Duffy and the Devil, illustrated by Margot Zemach; retold by Harve Zemach (Farrar)
1973: The Funny Little Woman, illustrated by Blair Lent; text: retold by Arlene Mosel (Dutton)
1972: One Fine Day, retold and illustrated by Nonny Hogrogian (Macmillan)
1971: A Story A Story, retold and illustrated by Gail E. Haley (Atheneum)
1970: Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig (Windmill Books)
1969: The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship, illustrated by Uri Shulevitz; text: retold by Arthur Ransome (Farrar)
1968: Drummer Hoff, illustrated by Ed Emberley; text: adapted by Barbara Emberley (Prentice-Hall)
1967: Sam, Bangs & Moonshine by Evaline Ness (Holt)
1966: Always Room for One More, illustrated by Nonny Hogrogian; text: Sorche Nic Leodhas, pseud. [Leclair Alger] (Holt)
1965: May I Bring a Friend? illustrated by Beni Montresor; text: Beatrice Schenk de Regniers (Atheneum)
1964: Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak (Harper)
1963: The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats (Viking)
1962: Once a Mouse, retold and illustrated by Marcia Brown (Scribner)
1961: Baboushka and the Three Kings, illustrated by Nicolas Sidjakov; text: Ruth Robbins (Parnassus)
1960: Nine Days to Christmas, illustrated by Marie Hall Ets; text: Marie Hall Ets and Aurora Labastida (Viking)
1959: Chanticleer and the Fox, illustrated by Barbara Cooney; text: adapted from Chaucer's Canterbury Tales by Barbara Cooney (Crowell)
1958: Time of Wonder by Robert McCloskey (Viking)
1957: A Tree Is Nice, illustrated by Marc Simont; text: Janice Udry (Harper)
1956: Frog Went A-Courtin', illustrated by Feodor Rojankovsky; text: retold by John Langstaff) (Harcourt)
1955: Cinderella, or the Little Glass Slipper, illustrated by Marcia Brown; text: translated from Charles Perrault by Marcia Brown (Scribner)
1954: Madeline's Rescue by Ludwig Bemelmans (Viking)
1953: The Biggest Bear by Lynd Ward (Houghton)
1952: Finders Keepers, illustrated by Nicolas, pseud. (Nicholas Mordvinoff); text: Will, pseud. [William Lipkind] (Harcourt)
1951: The Egg Tree by Katherine Milhous (Scribner)
1950: Song of the Swallows by Leo Politi (Scribner)
1949: The Big Snow by Berta & Elmer Hader (Macmillan)
1948: White Snow, Bright Snow, illustrated by Roger Duvoisin; text: Alvin Tresselt (Lothrop)
1947: The Little Island, illustrated by Leonard Weisgard; text: Golden MacDonald, pseud. [Margaret Wise Brown] (Doubleday)
1946: The Rooster Crows by Maud & Miska Petersham (Macmillan)
1945: Prayer for a Child, illustrated by Elizabeth Orton Jones; text: Rachel Field (Macmillan)
1944: Many Moons, illustrated by Louis Slobodkin; text: James Thurber (Harcourt)
1943: The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton (Houghton)
1942: Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey (Viking)
1941: They Were Strong and Good, by Robert Lawson (Viking)
1940: Abraham Lincoln by Ingri & Edgar Parin d'Aulaire (Doubleday)
1939: Mei Li by Thomas Handforth (Doubleday)
1938: Animals of the Bible, A Picture Book, illustrated by Dorothy P. Lathrop; text: selected by Helen Dean Fish (Lippincott)

Many other books win an honor book award, which is a silver label. The medal winners receive a gold seal.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Jessie Wilcox Smith

Jessie Willcox Smith was born in Philadelphia in 1863. She was a kindergarten teacher before accidentally discovering her artistic talent. She was probably around 20 before she started drawing. She soon enrolled at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and was a student of Thomas Eakins, and others. Her earliest work appeared in the monthly magazine for children, St. Nicholas. She also worked in the production department of The Ladies' Home Journal in 1889 and was still working there five years later when Howard Pyle began teaching illustration at Drexel Institute of Arts and Sciences, and she joined his first class. At age 31, she was only 10 years younger than her teacher and one of his oldest students. She formed a lifelong friendship with two other students, Elizabeth Shippen Green and Violet Oakley. The three shared a home/studio for almost 15 years, including a lease on a property called The Red Rose Inn, just outside Philadelphia. Smith was hugely successful in the emerging illustration market – it was the advent of mass-produced periodicals, many with a focus on home and children: The Ladies' Home Journal, Century, Collier's Weekly, Leslie's, Harper's, McClure's, Scribners, and, most famously, Good Housekeeping, which was one of America’s most popular magazines. Her illustrations graced the covers month after month from 1917 through 1933.

She also illustrated many famous books: A Child's Garden of Verses (1905); A Child's Book of Stories (1911); The Water-Babies (1916); At the Back of the North Wind (1919); and Boys and Girls of Bookland (1923), and an edition of Heidi, among others.
In 1933, her eyesight fading, she decided to retire from illustrating and try traveling. Jessie Willcox Smith died in her sleep in 1935.
Special thanks to, which has a lot of wonderful information on many famous and well-loved illustrators.

Laughing Elephant publishes (and we carry!) her illustrations on greeting cards. We also sell eight of her illustrations in 8 x 10 prints, that are also available framed.