Thursday, January 1, 2015

Farmer and The Clown, Henny, Stella's Starliner--Favorite Picture Books of 2014

The Caldecott nominations are right around the corner, and I'm hoping a few of my favorite picture books of 2014 will make the cut.
But, to be realistic, I must say it's not looking good for a couple of my favorites.  They are wonderful books, but I'm not seeing them on anyone's list. 
Even though these books may not make it into the final stack of books to be considered by the Caldecott committee (each committee member is allowed 7 nomination choices), these are the ones I most enjoyed this year. 
Written and Illustrated by Elizabeth Rose Stanton
This book was released in early January 2014.  After nearly peeing myself from laughter, while at the local bookstore, over the illustrations in this book, I just had to purchase it for my collection.  The illustrations are simple, the book isn't dripping with ink, but it doesn't need to be.  It's light and cheerful and I loved that about it.  And who doesn't love a chicken that can point and cross her arms!?

Stella's Starliner
Written and Illustrated by Rosemary Wells
This book found its way into my heart and my collection back in September 2014 and I blogged about it HERE.
I won't go into the lovely details of this book again, but I just want to say I love this book and its illustrations and would really like to see it win the Caldecott.  Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to be getting much attention.  But, we have yet to see the final list of nominations, so keep your fingers crossed.

The Farmer and the Clown
Written and Illustrated by Marla Fazee
The Farmer and the Clown came out this past September.  The first time I looked through it, I did so very quickly and didn't care for it.  I thought it to be dark and gloomy looking.  But, there was something about the illustrations.  I don't know what the correct word would be to describe them,  they have a haunting tone to them...maybe it's the artist's use of grays and browns that made them look old-fashioned.  Whatever it was, something made me flip through the book once more, and more carefully, before leaving the library.  There is something precious about the way the old, bent and bearded farmer took the little baby clown's hand, after seeing him fall from the circus train.  He didn't ASK for this little one to fall into his life.  This was new territory for both of them.  The little one was scarred and I think the farmer was a little apprehensive as well. 
This story kind of reminds me of my late, Great Uncle Artie and his little neighbor girl that used to pester him with questions.  He was an old bachelor and didn't know too much about kids.  She just sort of dropped into his life, and there wasn't much he could do about it.  Through the years that little girl made quite an impression on gruff old Uncle Artie, just as the little clown baby does for this lonely, old farmer.

There are so many emotions in this wordless picture book!  I really had to look at it twice to let it all sink into my brain.  The story is a happy one, with a neat ending and the illustrations have REALLY stuck with me these past few weeks.
If Stella's Starliner doesn't make the list, I would definitely like to see The Farmer and the Clown win the Caldecott.

There were a couple more books I really enjoyed, but these were my top three!
That's all for today, have a Happy New Year everyone!


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