The 2012 Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards for Excellence in Children’s Literature were announced at BookExpo America. There are winners in three categories as well as honor books for each. Here are the winners:
Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Jon Klassen
No Crystal Stair by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie
Chuck Close: Face Book by Chuck Close
And the Honor Books:
And Then It’s Spring by Julie Fogliano, illustrated by Erin E. Stead
And the Soldiers Sang by J. Patrick Lewis, illustrated by Gary Kelley
Life: An Exploded Diagram by Mal Peet
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
Georgia in Hawaii: When Georgia O’Keeffe Painted What She Pleased by Amy Novesky, illustrated by Yuyi Morales
The Elephant Scientist by Caitlin O’Connell & Donna M. Jackson, photographs by Caitlin O’Connell and Timothy Rodwell
Red Knit Cap Girl by Naoko Stoop
Red Knit Cap Girl finds that when she is in the forest, she has time to think about all sorts of things. In particular, she thinks about the moon and how she can get close enough to speak with her. She tries reaching the moon with a branch, finding her in the reflection in the water, but nothing works. Hedgehog recommends that she find Owl and ask about how to reach the moon. So she does, and Owl tells her that there is no way to reach the moon, but she will bend down to listen. So Red Knit Cap Girl heads out to find a way to get the moon to listen. She decides to have a party for the moon and all of her friends help. Bear and Squirrel hang lanterns in the trees that she has folded. But moon does not appear. What can they do to get moon to listen?
Stoop’s book is eye-catching and gorgeous. Painted on plywood, the grain of the wood becomes a large part of the images. The grain becomes clouds in the sky, patterns on the shore, and darkness in the deep forest. It also works tremendously well with the subject of a girl in a forest. The colors are deep and beautiful, so rich that they are almost wet in places. The reds glow, the blues haunt, and the deep browns are real shadows. Against these rich colors, the simple lines of the drawings pop. The animals and Red Knit Cap Girl ground the book with their distinctive charm.
The writing is equally lovely with moments that catch the breath. From the opening line, I knew I was going to love this book: “In the forest, there is time to wonder about everything.” Isn’t that just the way you feel when you venture into the woods, like time has stopped and there are moments of eternity just to think?
A shining picture book that has a richness and beauty that does not negate its inherent child appeal. Add this to your next story time on moons or forests. Appropriate for ages 3-5.
Reviewed from library copy.