Monday, January 23, 2012

A dog wins the 2012 Caldecott!

I've loved, lost and destroyed plenty of toys in my time, and no one thought to write a book about moi. 
("Actually," says Mom, "I have...but no one's published it...yet.")

So I might be a tad jealous that a scruffy little pup is the subject of this year's Randolph Caldecott Award for the most distinguished American picture book for children.

However, my readers know me to be rather discerning when it comes to picture books, and dog books in particular. They must be honest. They must be extraordinarily well done. They must touch some part of my doggy soul.

Alas, dear reader, this book, while true enough in story, neither touches my soul or seems well done enough to merit this medal.

I like whimsical, expressive artwork and appreciated it in The Hello, Goodbye Window, for which Raschka won the Caldecott in 2006. But I don't like sloppy. The Caldecott committee chair called the illustrations "deceptively simple." I'm not deceived: many of the illustrations are not simple. The ones that look simple, however, are brilliant. The others...well...are sloppy.

Daisy is adorably portrayed in her scruffiness (although I of course am far more handsome), yet I am surprised the book's creator was happy with the panels in which Daisy sinks miserably into the family couch. I was confused by the depiction of Daisy's human—she looked different each time she was portrayed.

The story itself was fine: dog gets ball, dog destroys ball, dog gets new ball. Best wishes to Daisy, but it's not a book I can really chew on.