Caldecott Medal Winners

View all American Children's Awards book lists; This list was last updated on 11/5/2014
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The Caldecott  Medal is one of the most prestigious American children's book awards. It was named in honor of nineteenth-century English illustrator Randolph Caldecott. It is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of
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Locomotive (Caldecott Medal Book)
The Caldecott Medal Winner, Sibert Honor Book, and New York Times bestseller Locomotive is a rich and detailed sensory exploration of America's early railroads, from the creator of the stunning (Booklist) Moonshot.

It is the summer of 1869, and trains, crews, and family are traveling together, riding America's brand-new transcontinental railroad. These pages come alive with the details of the trip and the sounds, speed, and strength of the mighty locomotives; the work that keeps them moving; and the thrill of travel from plains to mountain to ocean.

Come hear the hiss of the steam, feel the heat of the engine, watch the landscape race by. Come ride the rails, come cross the young country!
release date: Jan 01, 2012
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This Is Not My Hat

From the creator of the #1 New York Times best-selling and award-winning I Want My Hat Back comes a second wry tale.

When a tiny fish shoots into view wearing a round blue topper (which happens to fit him perfectly), trouble could be following close behind. So it's a good thing that enormous fish won't wake up. And even if he does, it's not like he'll ever know what happened. . . . Visual humor swims to the fore as the best-selling Jon Klassen follows his breakout debut with another deadpan-funny tale.
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Fool of the World and the Flying Ship

When the Czar proclaims that he will marry his daughter to the man who brings him a flying ship, the Fool of the World sets out to try his luck and meets some unusual companions on the way.

The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship is the winner of the 1969 Caldecott Medal.

release date: Oct 14, 2010
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release date: Jan 01, 1980
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Retold from traditional sources and accompanied by David Wisniewski's unique cut-paper illustrations, Golem is a dramatic tale of supernatural forces invoked to save an oppressed people. It also offers a thought-provoking look at the consequences of unleashing power beyond human control. The afterword discusses the legend of the golem and its roots in the history of the Jews. A Caldecott Medal Book. Review
Golem is the Hebrew word for shapeless man. According to Jewish legend, the renowned scholar and teacher Rabbi Loew used his powers to create a Golem from clay in order to protect his people from persecution in the ghettos of 16th-century Prague. (This was the time of the Blood Lie, when hostile gentiles claimed that Jews were mixing the blood of Christian children with the flour and water of matzo.) David Wisniewski's cut-paper collage illustrations--which earned him the Caldecott Medal in 1997--are the ideal medium for portraying the stark black-and-white forces of good and evil, pride and prejudice, as well as the gray area that emerges when the tormented clay giant loses control of his anger. Echoing the tension and mood of Frankenstein, Wisniewski sends the tragic giant back to the blood red earth that birthed him. The historical note on the last page offers a broader context for the legend, ultimately comparing the creation of Golem to the emergence of Israel. (Ages 8 and older) --Gail Hudson
release date: Jan 01, 2000
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So You Want to be President?
From Amazon
Tired of books about the presidency that present themselves as history books? Author Judith St. George--along with Caldecott Honor-winning illustrator David Small--has created a book about the presidency that's serious fun. The basic theme is that anyone can be president: a fat man (William Howard Taft) or a tiny man (James Madison), a relative youngster (Teddy Roosevelt at 42) or oldster (Ronald Reagan at 69). Presidential hobbies, sports, virtues, and vices all get a tongue-in-cheek airing, perfectly matched by Small's political-cartoon style of caricature painting. It's fun, but the underlying purpose is clearly serious: to remind kids that the American presidents have been a motley group of individuals, not a row of marble busts. Ironically, that message makes the presidency far more interesting (and appealing) than it seems in some of the more traditional books. There's a factual addendum at the back giving all the dates and names, with a one-line bio for each past-president. (Ages 8 and older) --Richard Farr
release date: Jan 01, 2002
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The three pigs
This Caldecott Medal-winning picture book begins placidly (and familiarly) enough, with three pigs collecting materials and going off to build houses of straw, sticks, and bricks. But the wolf's huffing and puffing blows the first pig right out of the story . . . and into the realm of pure imagination. The transition signals the start of a freewheeling adventure with characteristic David Wiesner effects—cinematic flow, astonishing shifts of perspective, and sly humor, as well as episodes of flight.
Satisfying both as a story and as an exploration of the nature of story, The Three Pigs takes visual narrative to a new level. Dialogue balloons, text excerpts, and a wide variety of illustration styles guide the reader through a dazzling fantasy universe to the surprising and happy ending. Fans of Tuesday's frogs and Sector 7's clouds will be captivated by old friends—the Three Pigs of nursery fame and their companions—in a new guise. Review
Once upon a time three pigs built three houses, out of straw, sticks, and bricks. Along came a wolf, who huffed and puffed... So, you think you know the rest? Think again. With David Wiesner at the helm, it's never safe to assume too much. When the wolf approaches the first house, for example, and blows it in, he somehow manages to blow the pig right out of the story frame. The text continues on schedule--"...and ate the pig up"--but the perplexed expression on the wolf's face as he looks in vain for his ham dinner is priceless. One by one, the pigs exit the fairy tale's border and set off on an adventure of their own. Folding a page of their own story into a paper airplane, the pigs fly off to visit other storybooks, rescuing about-to-be-slain dragons and luring the cat and the fiddle out of their nursery rhyme.

Wiesner, Caldecott Medal recipient for Tuesday, and Caldecott Honor winner for both Sector 7 and Free Fall, prefers not to wait around until pigs fly. He gives them wings (or paper airplanes) and sets them on their way! In his latest flight of fancy, Wiesner uses shifting illustration styles and fonts to startle complacent readers into an imaginary world even as they ponder the conventional structure of story. His trademark crafty humor and skewed perspectives will tickle readers pink (even the nonporcine variety)! (Ages 4 and older) --Emilie Coulter

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release date: Apr 26, 2005
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The Hello, Goodbye Window
This is a love song devoted to that special relationship between grandparents and grandchild.
The kitchen window at Nanna and Poppy's house is, for one little girl, a magic gateway. Everything important happens near it, through it, or beyond it. Told in her voice, her story is both a voyage of discovery and a celebration of the commonplace wonders that define childhood, expressed as a joyful fusion of text with evocative and exuberant illustrations.The world for this little girl will soon grow larger and more complex, but never more enchanting or deeply felt.
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Abraham Lincoln
A Caldecott Medal Book, A Child Study Children's Book Committee: Children's Book of the Year

We at Beautiful Feet Books are excited to announce the publication of Abraham Lincoln the beloved classic in a special hardback edition in celebration of the bicentennial anniversary of Lincoln's birth. This edition is published from the original 1940 printing and we were able to recreate the vivid colors originally intended by the d'Aulaires. This is a must have for any fan of the d'Aulaires'. America was at a crossroads in 1939 as they debated whether to join the Allies in their battle against Hitler's relentless march across Europe. As European immigrants the d'Aulaires felt keenly the importance of standing against injustice, and saw in Lincoln the archetypal American hero as he stood against the injustice of slavery. It was this spirit they hoped to exemplify in their biography of young Abe as he grew into manhood against the backdrop of the wilderness of Kentucky, the deep woods of Indiana, and the prairies of Illinois. Camping for weeks in Lincoln country, the d'Aulaires imbibed the spirit of the man Lincoln as well as his humor and good will. From his days as a clerk, teaching himself law reading Blackstone, practicing law in Springfield, running unsuccessfully for office, debating Stephen Douglas over the issue of slavery, and ultimately becoming President of the United States, the d'Aulaires have written and beautifully illustrated the life of one of America's most remarkable citizens.

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Make Way for Ducklings

"Robert McCloskey's unusual and stunning pictures have long been a delight for their fun as well as their spirit of place."—The Horn Book

Mrs. Mallard was sure that the pond in the Boston Public Gardens would be a perfect place for her and her eight ducklings to live.  The problem was how to get them there through the busy streets of Boston.  But with a little help from the Boston police, Mrs. Mallard and Jack, Kack, Lack, Nack, Ouack, Pack, and Quack arive safely at their new home.

This brilliantly illustrated, amusingly observed tale of Mallards on the move has won the hearts of generations of readers. Awarded the Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book for children in 1941, it has since become a favorite of millions. This classic tale of the famous Mallard ducks of Boston is available for the first time in a full-sized paperback edition.

Make Way for Ducklings has been described as "one of the merriest picture books ever" (The New York Times). Ideal for reading aloud, this book deserves a place of honor on every child's bookshelf.

"This delightful picture book captures the humor and beauty of one special duckling family. ... McClosky's illustrations are brilliant and filled with humor. The details of the ducklings, along with the popular sights of Boston, come across wonderfully. The image of the entire family proudly walking in line is a classic."—The Barnes & Noble Review

"The quaint story of the mallard family's search for the perfect place to hatch ducklings. ... For more than fifty years kids have been entertained by this warm and wonderful story."—Children's Literature Review
It's not easy for duck parents to find a safe place to bring up their ducklings, but during a rest stop in Boston's Public Garden, Mr. and Mrs. Mallard think they just might have found the perfect spot--no foxes or turtles in sight, plenty of peanuts from pleasant passers-by, and the benevolent instincts of a kindly police officer to boot. Young readers will love the mother duck's proud, loving protection of her wee webbed ones, and those with fond memories of Boston will enjoy familiar locales, from Beacon Hill to Louisburg Square, and over the Charles River--often from a duck's-eye view. Robert McCloskey, creator of Blueberries for Sal, never fails to elicit happy story-time giggles from youngsters, and his soft, brown-toned, Caldecott-winning illustrations make this gentle world come alive. (Ages 3 to 8) --Karin Snelson
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release date: Mar 16, 2009
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The Little House Board Book
From Amazon
"Once upon a time there was a Little House way out in the country. She was a pretty Little House and she was strong and well built." So begins Virginia Lee Burton's classic The Little House, winner of the prestigious Caldecott Medal in 1943. The rosy-pink Little House, on a hill surrounded by apple trees, watches the days go, by from the first apple blossoms in the spring through the winter snows. Always faintly aware of the city's distant lights, she starts to notice the city encroaching on her bucolic existence. First a road appears, which brings horseless carriages and then trucks and steamrollers. Before long, more roads, bigger homes, apartment buildings, stores, and garages surround the Little House. Her family moves out and she finds herself alone in the middle of the city, where the artificial lights are so bright that the Little House can no longer see the sun or the moon. She often dreams of "the field of daisies and the apple trees dancing in the moonlight." Children will be saddened to see the lonely, claustrophobic, dilapidated house, but when a woman recognizes her and whisks her back to the country where she belongs, they will rejoice. Young readers are more likely to be drawn in by the whimsical, detailed drawings and the happy ending than by anything Burton might have been implying about the troubling effects of urbanization. (Ages 3 to 6)
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release date: Jan 01, 1997
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Prayer for a Child
This very special prayer just for children is perfect for even the youngest reader.

In this new gift book edition Caldecott-winning Prayer for a Child is sure to win new fans and become a favorite.

* * *

Keep growing in faith and joy through Little Simon Inspirations books for your child!
release date: Apr 01, 1991
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The Little Island (Dell Picture Yearling)
Once there was a little island in the ocean. That little island changes as the seasons come and go. The storm and the day and night change it. So do the lobsters and seals and gulls that stop by. Then one day a kitten visits the little island and learns a secret that every child will enjoy.
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The Biggest Bear
Johnny Orchard brings home a playful bear cub that soon becomes huge and a nuisance to the neighbors.
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release date: Jan 01, 1989
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Madeline's Rescue
Madeline loves her new doggy friend, but so do all the other girls. How can 12 little girls look after one dog without fighting? Then, once more, Genevieve comes to the rescue. Review
It took Ludwig Bemelmans years to think of Madeline's next adventure after the 1939 original Madeline, but he did it, and the result was Madeline's Rescue, winner of the 1954 Caldecott Medal. One day on a walk through Paris (a "twelve little girls in two straight lines" kind of walk), Madeline slips and falls off a bridge right into the Seine. Everyone feared she would be dead, "But for a dog / That kept its head," saving her from a "watery grave." What choice do Madeline and the girls have but to take the heroic pooch home, feed her biscuits, milk, and beef, and name her Genevieve? Sadly, when Lord Cucuface gets wind of the new dog, he decrees that no dogs will be allowed in the "old house in Paris that was covered with vines," and kicks Genevieve out on the street. Madeline vows vengeance, and the girls scour Paris looking for the pup: "They went looking high / and low / And every place a dog might go. / In every place they called her name / But no one answered to the same." As we've come to expect from Bemelmans, all's well that ends well chez Clavel, and young readers will be tickled by this heartwarming, quirky dog story with a surprise finale. (Ages 4 to 8) --Karin Snelson
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release date: May 01, 1995
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Time of Wonder
FOR USE IN SCHOOLS AND LIBRARIES ONLY. Follows the activities of two children spending their summer vacation on an island off the coast of Maine.
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release date: Jan 01, 1986
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Winner of the 1963 Caldecott Medal!

No book has captured the magic and sense of possibility of the first snowfall better than The Snowy Day. Universal in its appeal, the story has become a favorite of millions, as it reveals a child's wonder at a new world, and the hope of capturing and keeping that wonder forever.
The adventures of a little boy in the city on a very snowy day.

"Keats's sparse collage illustrations capture the wonder and beauty a snowy day can bring to a small child."—Barnes & Noble

"Ezra Jack Keats's classic The Snowy Day, winner of the 1963 Caldecott Medal, pays homage to the wonder and pure pleasure a child experiences when the world is blanketed in snow."—Publisher's Weekly

"The book is notable not only for its lovely artwork and tone, but also for its importance as a trailblazer. According to Horn Book magazine, The Snowy Day was "the very first full-color picture book to feature a small black hero"—yet another reason to add this classic to your shelves. It's as unique and special as a snowflake."— Review

The Snowy Day, a 1963 Caldecott Medal winner, is the simple tale of a boy waking up to discover that snow has fallen during the night. Keats's illustrations, using cut-outs, watercolors, and collage, are strikingly beautiful in their understated color and composition. The tranquil story mirrors the calm presence of the paintings, and both exude the silence of a freshly snow-covered landscape. The little boy celebrates the snow-draped city with a day of humble adventures--experimenting with footprints, knocking snow from a tree, creating snow angels, and trying to save a snowball for the next day. Awakening to a winter wonderland is an ageless, ever-magical experience, and one made nearly visceral by Keats's gentle tribute.

The book is notable not only for its lovely artwork and tone, but also for its importance as a trailblazer. According to Horn Book magazine, The Snowy Day was "the very first full-color picture book to feature a small black hero"--yet another reason to add this classic to your shelves. It's as unique and special as a snowflake.

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release date: Nov 09, 1988
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Where the Wild Things Are

In the forty years since Max first cried "Let the wild rumpus start," Maurice Sendak's classic picture book has become one of the most highly acclaimed and best-loved children's books of all time. Now, in celebration of this special anniversary, introduce a new generation to Max's imaginative journey to Where the Wild Things Are. Review
Where the Wild Things Are is one of those truly rare books that can be enjoyed equally by a child and a grown-up. If you disagree, then it's been too long since you've attended a wild rumpus. Max dons his wolf suit in pursuit of some mischief and gets sent to bed without supper. Fortuitously, a forest grows in his room, allowing his wild rampage to continue unimpaired. Sendak's color illustrations (perhaps his finest) are beautiful, and each turn of the page brings the discovery of a new wonder.

The wild things--with their mismatched parts and giant eyes--manage somehow to be scary-looking without ever really being scary; at times they're downright hilarious. Sendak's defiantly run-on sentences--one of his trademarks--lend the perfect touch of stream of consciousness to the tale, which floats between the land of dreams and a child's imagination.

This Sendak classic is more fun than you've ever had in a wolf suit, and it manages to reaffirm the notion that there's no place like home.

release date: Jan 01, 1989
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May I Bring A Friend? (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition)
What could be more natural, when invited by the King and Queen to tea, than to ask to bring a friend? And that, of course, is what the hero of May I Bring a Friend? does. Not only to tea, but to breakfast, lunch, dinner, apple pie and Halloween -- one invitation for each of six days of the week.
The King is most gracious. "Any friend of our friend is most welcome here," says he. And his graciousness extends to giraffes, lions, hippos, monkeys, all kinds of friends. Not all of whom are on their very best behavior.
It must be assumed however, that everyone (including the reader) enjoyed the friends, for why else would the king and queen step off to the zoo for tea on the seventh day. Review
The King and Queen are most gracious hosts to a certain little boy--and any friend of his is a friend of theirs. When he brings a giraffe to tea, the King doesn't blink an eye and says, "Hello. How do you do?" and the Queen merely exclaims, "Well! Fancy meeting you!" The royal pair continue to invite the boy as their guest for tea, breakfast, lunch, dinner, apple pie, and Halloween, and each time he politely asks if he can bring a friend, waits for their assent, then brings a hippo, monkeys, an elephant, and once even a pride of lions into their elegant home. Beatrice Schenk De Regniers's gentle, repetitive, rhyming story, with the refrain "So I brought my friend," will resonate with young children, who will be pleased to see the well-behaved wild animals wreaking harmless havoc in the palace, and soothed by the unfalteringly open arms and perpetual politesse of the King and Queen. Beni Montresor's distinctive, inky, richly colored drawings earned this book a Caldecott Medal in 1965, and have won the hearts of children ever since. (Ages 3 and older) --Karin Snelson
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by: Steig
release date: Jan 01, 1994
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Sylvester and the Magic Pebble
From Amazon
Imagine all the happiness and wealth you could achieve if you found a magic pebble that granted your every wish! Sylvester Duncan, an unassuming donkey who collects pebbles "of unusual shape and color," experiences just such a lucky find. But before he can make all his wishes come true, the young donkey unexpectedly encounters a mean-looking lion. Startled, Sylvester wishes he were a rock, but in mineral form he can no longer hold the pebble, and thus cannot wish himself back to his equine trappings. His parents, thinking he has disappeared, are at first frantic, then miserable, and then plunge into donkey ennui. Meanwhile, Sylvester is gravely depressed, but tries to get used to being a rock.

In 1970, William Steig won the Caldecott Medal for Sylvester and the Magic Pebble--the first of his many Newbery and Caldecott honors. In this donkey's tale, Steig imbues his characteristically simple illustrations of animals sporting human garb with evocative, irresistible, and heartbreakingly vivid emotions. The text is straightforward and the dialogue remarkably touching. Children will feel deeply for Sylvester and his parents, all wishing for the impossible--that the family will one day be reunited. Sylvester's sweet story is one that endures, reminding us all that sometimes what we have is all we really need. (Ages 4 to 8)

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A Story, a Story

Many African stories, whether or not they are about Kwaku Ananse the "spider man," are called, "Spider Stories." This book is about how that came to be.

The African storyteller begins: "We do not really mean, we do not really mean that what we are about to say is true. A Story, a story; let it come, let it go."

And it tells that long, long ago there were no stories on earth for children to hear. All stories belonged to Nyame, the Sky God. Ananse, the Spider man, wanted to buy some of these stories, so he spun a web up to the sky and went up to bargain with the Sky God. The price the Sky God asked was Osebo, the leopard of-the-terrible-teeth, Mmboro the hornet who-stings-like-fire, and Mmoatia the fairy whom-men-never-see.

How Ananse paid the price is told in a graceful and clever text, with forceful, lovely woodcut illustrations.

release date: Jan 01, 1986
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The Funny Little Woman (Picture Puffins)
While chasing a dumpling, a little lady is captured by wicked creatures from whom she escapes with the means of becoming the richest woman in Japan.
release date: Feb 24, 1977
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Arrow to the Sun: A Pueblo Indian Tale
Paperback. Pub the Date: January. 1983 Pages: 40 Language: English in Publisher: Penguin Gerald McDermott. began studying his art at the Detroit Institute of Arts the when he was four years old. Of He attended Pratt Institute in. ooklyn. where he received his bachelor's degree . With Arrow To The Sun Mr. McDermott is continuing a cycle of films and books that explores his special interest in folklore and mythology. He describes his latest work as perhaps the most successful in terms of what I wanted to achieve thus far. Mr. McDermott has made many films. and his unique style of animation has ought him worldwide recognition.
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release date: Jan 01, 1993
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Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears
A retelling of a traditional West African tale that reveals how the mosquito developed its annoying habit.
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release date: Mar 01, 1993
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Girl Who Loved Wild Horses, The
"There was a girl in the village who loved horses... She led the horses to drink at the river. She spoke softly and they followed. People noticed that she understood horses in a special way."
And so begins the story of a young Native American girl devoted to the care of her tribe's horses. With simple text and brilliant illustrations. Paul Goble tells how she eventually becomes one of them to forever run free. Review
For most people, being swept away in a horse stampede during a raging thunderstorm would be a terrifying disaster. For the young Native American girl in Paul Goble's 1979 Caldecott-winning masterpiece, The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses, it is a blessing. Although she loves her people, this girl has a much deeper, almost sacred connection to her equine friends. The storm gives her the opportunity to fulfill her dream--to live in a beautiful land among the wild horses she loves.

With brilliant, stylized illustrations and simple text, Paul Goble tells the story of a young woman who follows her heart, and the family that respects and accepts her uniqueness. Considering how difficult it is for some communities to allow friendships to grow between people of different cultures, this village's support for the girl's companions of choice is admirable. Goble's bold paintings reflect this noble open-mindedness. The young horse fanatic of the house will joyfully add this book to his or her collection. Children are passionate people; they will relate. (All ages) --Emilie Coulter

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release date: Jan 01, 1980
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Ox-cart Man
Winner of the Caldecott Medal

Thus begins a lyrical journey through the days and weeks, the months, and the changing seasons in the life of one New Englander and his family. The oxcart man packs his goods - the wool from his sheep, the shawl his wife made, the mittens his daughter knitted, and the linen they wove. He packs the birch brooms his son carved, and even a bag of goose feathers from the barnyard geese.

He travels over hills, through valleys, by streams, past farms and villages. At Portsmouth Market he sells his goods, one by one - even his beloved ox. Then, with his pockets full of coins, he wanders through the market, buying provisions for his family, and returns to his home. And the cycle begins again.

"Like a pastoral symphony translated into picture book format, the stunning combination of text and illustrations recreates the mood of 19-century rural New England."—The Horn Book 
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release date: Jun 01, 1982
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release date: Jan 01, 1996
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release date: Jan 01, 2009
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Saint George and the Dragon
Set "in the days when monsters and giants and fairy folk lived in England", this retelling of a tale recounts the battle between Saint George and the Dragon, a creature so huge and fearsome that his tail "swept the land behind him for almost half a mile".
release date: Jan 01, 1986
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The Polar Express

For twenty years, The Polar Express has been a worldwide bestseller and Christmas classic. A perfect keepsake for any family, this beautiful edition can be handed down to each new generation of readers.

In 1986 The Polar Express was awarded the prestigious Caldecott Medal and hit the New York Times bestseller list. Since that time, more than six and a half million copies have been sold, and every December it faithfully reappears on national bestseller lists. In 2004, The Polar Express became a blockbuster holiday movie. The DVD release in 2005 assures, that like the book, the movie will become a holiday classic. Review

One couldn't select a more delightful and exciting premise for a children's book than the tale of a young boy lying awake on Christmas Eve only to have Santa Claus sweep by and take him on a trip with other children to the North Pole. And one couldn't ask for a more talented artist and writer to tell the story than Chris Van Allsburg. Allsburg, a sculptor who entered the genre nonchalantly when he created a children's book as a diversion from his sculpting, won the 1986 Caldecott Medal for this book, one of several award winners he's produced. The Polar Express rings with vitality and wonder.

Amazon Exclusive: A Letter from Chris Van Allsburg

Dear Amazon Readers,

Over the past twenty-five years, many people have shared stories with me about the effect that reading The Polar Express has had on their families and on their celebration of Christmas.

One of the most poignant was told to me five or six years ago at a book signing in the Midwest, on a snowy December evening. As I inscribed a book to a woman in her sixties, she told me that it was the second copy she had owned, and wanted to know if she could she tell me what had happened to the first. "Of course," I answered.

A dozen years earlier the woman, who had no children of her own, befriended a neighbor, a boy of about seven, named Eddie. He would often cross his driveway to visit her.

She had a collection of picture books, which she read to him, but around the holidays, the only story he ever wanted to hear, over and over, was The Polar Express. One year she offered to give him the book, but Eddie declined because he wanted to hear her read it aloud to him, which she continued to do every year until the boy and his family moved away.

Years later the woman learned from a mutual acquaintance that Eddie had grown up and become a soldier. He was stationed in Iraq. Since Christmas was approaching, the woman decided to send him a gift box. She included candy, cookies, socks, and her old copy of The Polar Express. She wasn't sure what a nineteen-year-old battle-weary soldier would do with the book in an army barracks in the Middle East, but she wanted him to have it. A month later, after the holidays had passed, she received a letter from Eddie.

He told her he was very happy to have heard from her and to get the box of gifts. He had opened it in his barracks, just before curfew, with some of his fellow GIs already in their bunks. A soldier in the next bunk spotted the book. He knew it well from his own childhood and asked Eddie to read it. "Out loud?" he asked. "Yeah," his buddy told him.

Eddie, quietly and a little self-consciously, read The Polar Express. When he'd finished and closed the book, a moment of silence passed. Then from behind him a voice called out, "Read it again," and another joined in, "Yeah, read it again," and a third added, "This time, louder." So Eddie did.

He wrote to the woman that he'd stood up and read it to his comrades just the way he remembered she had read it to him.

All aboard,

Chris Van Allsburg

Recipes and Activities to Celebrate the 25th Anniversary of The Polar Express

(Click on Images for the Recipe or Activity [PDF])

Snacks for Santa

Candy Cane Sugar Cookies

Polar Chocolate Nougat Caramel Squares

Christmas Snowball Cookies

Fun and Games

A Polar Express Word Search

A Polar Express Crossword

A Polar Express Maze

release date: Jan 01, 1988
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Owl Moon
From Amazon
Among the greatest charms of children is their ability to view a simple activity as a magical adventure. Such as a walk in the woods late at night. Jane Yolen captures this wonderment in a book whose charm rises from its simplicity. "It was late one winter night, long past my bedtime, when Pa and I went owling." The two walked through the woods with nothing but hope and each other in a journey that will fascinate many a child. John Schoenherr's illustrations help bring richness to the countryside adventure. The book won the 1988 Caldecott Medal.
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release date: Jan 01, 1999
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Song and Dance Man
Illus. in full color. "In this affectionate story, three children follow their grandfather up to the attic, where he pulls out his old bowler hat, gold-tipped cane, and his tap shoes. Grandpa once danced on the vaudeville stage, and as he glides across the floor, the children can see what it was like to be a song and dance man. Gammell captures all the story's inherent joie de vivre with color pencil renderings that leap off the pages. Bespectacled, enthusiastic Grandpa clearly exudes the message that you're only as old as you feel, but the children respond--as will readers--to the nostalgia of the moment. Utterly original."--(starred) Booklist. Review
Once a song and dance man, Grandpa reclaims his youth and profession before the delighted eyes of his three grandchildren one afternoon. He simply cannot resist the urge to dress up in clothes left over from his vaudeville days--complete with top hat and gold-headed cane--and to perform tricks, play banjo and tell jokes. He taps, twirls and laughs himself to tears on a thrown-together stage in his attic. Artist Stephen Gammell takes full advantage of lamplight to render Grandpa in shadow and silhouette, trivializing the concept of age and creating a feeling of intense nostalgia. Related from the point of view of the children, the text in Song and Dance Man is soft and understated, and Gammell's artistry is superb. The book won the Caldecott Medal in 1989.
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release date: Jan 01, 1990
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Black and White
Four stories are told simultaneously, with each double-page spread divided into quadrants. The stories do not necessarily take place at the same moment in time, but are they really one story? Review
Black and White is an interesting title for a book that aims to prove there's no such thing as black and white. But read on and you will see that irony and playful deception are running themes in this multidimensional, nonlinear picture story, which was awarded the 1991 Caldecott Medal. In it, a normal-looking cow contains a robber literally pointing at one of the plot's various possible outcomes, which remain tentative as long as they are formulated by young readers. Seeing new angles and clues every time they open the book, these readers will probably astound adult onlookers with their excitement and ease at navigating the unknown in a literary medium akin to interactive multimedia.
release date: Jan 01, 2007
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David Weisner has allowed his imagination to run free in Tuesday, and the result is a wondrous and mysterious picture book that mixes the ordinary with the unimaginable. He's merged his talent with the palette and his penchant for odd perspective to create a book where frogs careen through suburbia on flying lily pads, startling witnesses and spooking a dog. And that's just for starters. Tuesday has few words and no human protagonist, relying instead on a surreal and supernatural vision. The book, for children ages 5 years old and up, won the 1992 Caldecott Medal.
release date: Jan 01, 1993
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Mirette on the High Wire
From Amazon
Mirette and the "Great Bellini" traverse the Paris skyline on high wire in the climactic scene of this picture book about conquering fear. The two meet at Mirette's mother's boarding house, where Bellini is staying with a troupe of traveling performers. Mirette persuades Bellini to teach her his art, and soon enough the two are performing above the rooftops of Paris. While Mirette gets to step outside her daily routine of peeling potatoes and scrubbing floors, Bellini manages to reaffirm his mastery. The story affords a spunky, down-to-earth role model for readers who like to dream big dreams. It also offers rich, scenic portraits of 19th century Paris. The book won the 1993 Caldecott Medal.
release date: Oct 27, 2008
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Grandfather's Journey
From Amazon
Home becomes elusive in this story about immigration and acculturation, pieced together through old pictures and salvaged family tales. Both the narrator and his grandfather long to return to Japan, but when they do, they feel anonymous and confused: "The funny thing is, the moment I am in one country, I am homesick for the other." Allen Say's prose is succinct and controlled, to the effect of surprise when monumental events are scaled down to a few words: "The young woman fell in love, married, and sometime later I was born." The book also has large, formal paintings in delicate, faded colors that portray a cherished and well-preserved family album. The book, for audiences ages 4 to 8, won the 1994 Caldecott Medal.
release date: Apr 01, 1999
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Smoky Night
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This is a story about cats -- and people -- who couldn't get along until a smoky and fearful night brings them together.

The Los Angeles riots made author Eve Bunting wonder about what riots meant to the children who live through them -- and what we can all learn from such upheavals. She has written more than 100 books for children and young adults, including Night Tree and Summer Wheels, and many deal thoughtfully with difficult issues.

Smoky Night was the winner of the 1995 Caldecott Medal; an American Library Association Notable Children's Book; a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year; and a Parent's Choice Award.

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release date: Jan 01, 1996
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Officer Buckle and Gloria
"Besides the beguiling story, the affable illustrations of the smiling Gloria, the accidental mayhem in the background, and the myriad safety tips -- such as 'always pull the toothpick out of your sandwhich' and 'never lick a stop sign in the winter' -- add to the enjoyment. A glorious picture book." -- The Horn Book"Rathmann is a quick rising star in the world of chidren's books. In this book, she again shows her flair for creating real characters, dramatic situations and for knowing what will make young audiences giggle and think." -- Children's Book Review Magazine"Rathman brings a lighter-than-air comic touch to this outstanding, solid-as-a-brick picture book." -- Publisher's Weekly"A five-star performance." -- School Library Journal Review
Officer Buckle is a roly-poly bloke, dedicated to teaching schoolchildren important safety tips, such as never put anything in your ear and never stand on a swivel chair. The problem is, Officer Buckle's school assemblies are dull, dull, dull, and the children of Napville just sleep, sleep, sleep. That is, until Gloria the police dog is invited along! Stealthily pantomiming each safety tip behind Officer Buckle's back, Gloria wins the children's hearts. Meanwhile Officer Buckle assumes the cheers and laughter are all for him. As the master comedian Jerry Lewis once explained, every slapstick artist needs a straight man! Children will be highly entertained by the laugh-out-loud, adorable illustrations in this 1996 Caldecott Medal winner, while learning the value of teamwork and a pawful of nifty safety tips. (Ages 4 to 8) --Gail Hudson
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release date: Jan 01, 2008
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Rapunzel (Picture Puffin Books)
Paperback. Pub Date: 2003 09 Pages: 2 Language: English Publisher: Penguin Trapped in a tower with no door. Rapunzel is allowed to see no one but the sorceress who has imprisoned her-until the day a young prince hears her singing to the forest birds .... The timeless tale of Rapunzel is vividly and magnificently ought to life through Paul O. Zelinsky's powerful sense of narrative and his stunning oil paintings.
From Amazon
In older versions of the classic tale Rapunzel, it always seemed improbable that a grown man could scale a tower using only his beloved's hair. Not so in Paul O. Zelinsky's Caldecott Medal-winning version of Rapunzel. Here, Rapunzel's reddish-blonde mane is thick with waves and braids, and cascades like a waterfall down the walls of her isolation tower. In Zelinsky's able hands it's easy to believe that a prince would harbor no hesitations about scrambling up our fair heroine's hair.

Of course, this is not the work of an amateur--Zelinsky's lush versions of Hansel and Gretel, Rumpelstiltskin, and Swamp Angel all earned him Caldecott Honors. His gorgeous, Italian Renaissance-styled illustrations are characterized by warm golden tones and the mesmerizing sensation of trompe l'oeuil. Not only does he have the touch of a world-class illustrator, Zelinsky has also proven himself a master storyteller. We are frightened when the sorceress demands to take the baby Rapunzel, we are alarmed when the flowing locks are cruelly shorn, and we rejoice when the prince and his now modest-haired love are reunited. The notes at the back of Rapunzel reveal his careful scholarship regarding the long history of the story (tracing its origins and transformations from Italy to France and finally to Germany and the Grimm brothers)--work that no doubt contributed to his clean, compelling version of the age-old tale. Children will be captivated by the magical story and evocative pictures and adults will delight in the fresh feel of a well-loved legend. (Click to see a sample spread. Illustration © 1997 by Paul O. Zelinsky, published by Dutton Children's Books, a division of Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers.) (Ages 4 and older)

release date: Dec 28, 2009
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Snowflake Bentley

"Of all the forms of water the tiny six-pointed crystals of ice called snow are incomparably the most beautiful and varied." -- Wilson Bentley (1865-1931)

From the time he was a small boy in Vermont, Wilson Bentley saw snowflakes as small miracles. And he determined that one day his camera would capture for others the wonder of the tiny crystal. Bentley's enthusiasm for photographing snowflakes was often misunderstood in his time, but his patience and determination revealed two important truths: no two snowflakes are alike; and each one is startlingly beautiful. His story is gracefully told and brought to life in lovely woodcuts, giving children insight into a soul who had not only a scientist's vision and perseverance but a clear passion for the wonders of nature. Snowflake Bentley won the 1999 Caldecott Medal. Review
Most children are captivated by snow, but how many go on to make it their lifework? This beautiful biography, winner of the 1999 Caldecott Medal, tells the true story of a Vermont farm boy who was mesmerized by snowflakes. Wilson Bentley was fascinated by the six-sided frozen phenomena, and once he acquired a microscope with a camera, his childhood preoccupation took on a more scientific leaning. Bentley spent his life taking countless exquisite photographs (many that are still used in nature photography today), examining the tiny crystals and their delicate, mathematical structures. Jacqueline Briggs Martin tells this tale with simple, graceful prose that will engage children's imaginations. Edifying and snowflake-scattered sidebars offer more information about Bentley's methods and snowflake science. The artwork of Mary Azarian, whose 19th-century hand-press illustrations decorate the charming Barn Cat, shines once again in Snowflake Bentley, with woodcuts that reveal an appreciation for detail as well as for the man who loved snow. The lovely illustrations and equally fresh text will inspire and comfort youngsters (and grownups too) who wish they could capture snowflakes all year long. (Ages 4 to 8) --Brangien Davis
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release date: Jan 01, 1977
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Joseph Had a Little Overcoat
A very old overcoat is recycled numerous times into a variety of garments. Review
When Joseph's favorite overcoat gets old and worn, he makes a jacket out of it. When the jacket is more patches than jacket, Joseph turns it into a vest. When the vest's number is up, Joseph makes a scarf. This thrifty industry continues until there's nothing left of the original garment. But clever Joseph manages to make something out of nothing! (And that's the foreshadowed moral of the story.)

In today's throwaway world, Joseph's old-fashioned frugality is a welcome change. Based on a Yiddish song from Simms Taback's youth (lyrics and music reproduced on the last page), the book is filled with rhythms and arresting colors that will delight every reader. As more and more holes appear in Joseph's coat, die-cut holes appear on the pages, hinting at each next manifestation. The illustrations are striking, created with gouache, watercolor, collage, pencil, and ink. Every inch of space is crammed with fanciful, funny details, such as the headline on a discarded newspaper: "Fiddler on Roof Falls off Roof." Taback, esteemed creator of the Caldecott Honor-winning There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly and the classic Too Much Noise, has produced a picture book that is as well turned out as its dapper hero. (Ages 4 to 8) --Emilie Coulter

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release date: Jan 01, 2005
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The Man Who Walked Between The Towers

In 1974, French aerialist Philippe Petit threw a tightrope between the two towers of the World Trade Center and spent an hour walking, dancing, and performing high-wire tricks a quarter mile in the sky. This picture book captures the poetry and magic of the event with a poetry of its own: lyrical words and lovely paintings that present the detail, daring, and--in two dramatic foldout spreads-- the vertiginous drama of Petit's feat.

The Man Who Walked Between the Towers is the winner of the 2004 Caldecott Medal, the winner of the 2004 Boston Globe - Horn Book Award for Picture Books, and the winner of the 2006 Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Children's Video.

release date: Jan 01, 2004
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Kitten's First Full Moon

The nationally bestselling picture book about a kitten, the moon, and a bowl of milk, written by the celebrated author and illustrator Kevin Henkes, was awarded a Caldecott Medal.

From one of the most celebrated and beloved picture book creators working in the field today comes a memorable new character and a suspenseful adventure just right for reading and sharing at home and in the classroom. It is Kitten's first full moon, and when she sees it she thinks it is a bowl of milk in the sky. And she wants it. Does she get it? Well, no . . . and yes. What a night!

A brief text, large type, and luminescent pictures play second fiddle to the star of this classic picture book—brave, sweet and lucky Kitten! "Henkes's text, reminiscent of Margaret Wise Brown's work in the elemental words, rhythms, and appealing sounds, tells a warm, humorous story that's beautifully extended in his shimmering, gray-toned artwork."—ALA Booklist

Winner of the Caldecott Medal, an ALA Notable Book, a New York Times Best Illustrated Book, and winner of the Charlotte Zolotow Award

Supports the Common Core State Standards Review
In this beautiful picture book, winner of the 2005 Caldecott Medal, Kevin Henkes, captures the sweet, sometimes slapstick struggle of Kitten, who sees her first full moon and thinks it's a bowl of milk in the sky.

Any child who has yearned for anything will understand how much Kitten wants that elusive bowl of milk. Readers will giggle as she tries to lick the faraway moon and gets a bug on her tongue, or leaps to catch it and falls down the stairs. In an effective refrain, the narrator repeats, "Still, there was the little bowl of milk, just waiting." The winning combination here is the simplicity and humor of the story, paired with gorgeous black-and-white illustrations with thick black lines (mirrored by the thick bold sans-serif font) and shades of grey that are as luminous as a moonlit night should be. Full-moon circles and ovals appear throughout the design: white circle full moons on the endpapers, elliptical flowers by the porch, white circles of firefly light, oval pads on Kitten's paws, and her big round eyes (especially when surprised and soaking wet). Children will love Kitten's quest and ensuing comedy of errors, but what they will love even more is that there's an actual bowl of milk waiting on the porch for Kitten. (Preschool) --Karin Snelson

release date: Jan 01, 2006
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A bright, science-minded boy goes to the beach equipped to collect and examine flotsam - anything floating that has been washed ashore. Bottles, lost toys, small objects of every description are among his usual finds. But there's no way he could have prepared for one particular discovery: a barnacle-encrusted underwater camera, with its own secrets to share ...and to keep. Review

A bright, science-minded boy goes to the beach equipped to collect and examine flotsam--anything floating that has been washed ashore. Bottles, lost toys, small objects of every description are among his usual finds. But there's no way he could have prepared for one particular discovery: a barnacle-encrusted underwater camera, with its own secrets to share . . . and to keep.

In each of his amazing picture books, David Wiesner has revealed the magical possibilities of some ordinary thing or happening--a frog on a lily pad, a trip to the Empire State Building, a well-known nursery tale. This time, a day at the beach is the springboard into a wildly imaginative exploration of the mysteries of the deep, and of the qualities that enable us to witness these wonders and delight in them.

A Look Inside Flotsam
(Click on Images to Enlarge)

release date: Jul 01, 2007
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The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Orphan, clock keeper, and thief, Hugo lives in the walls of a busy Paris train station, where his survival depends on secrets and anonymity. But when his world suddenly interlocks with an eccentric, bookish girl and a bitter old man who runs a toy booth in the station, Hugo's undercover life, and his most precious secret, are put in jeopardy. A cryptic drawing, a treasured notebook, a stolen key, a mechanical man, and a hidden message from Hugo's dead father form the backbone of this intricate, tender, and spellbinding mystery. Review
Book Description:
Orphan, clock keeper, and thief, Hugo lives in the walls of a busy Paris train station, where his survival depends on secrets and anonymity. But when his world suddenly interlocks with an eccentric, bookish girl and a bitter old man who runs a toy booth in the station, Hugo's undercover life, and his most precious secret, are put in jeopardy. A cryptic drawing, a treasured notebook, a stolen key, a mechanical man, and a hidden message from Hugo's dead father form the backbone of this intricate, tender, and spellbinding mystery. Exclusive

A Letter from Brian Selznick

Dear readers,

When I was a kid, two of my favorite books were by an amazing man named Remy Charlip. Fortunately and Thirteen fascinated me in part because, in both books, the very act of turning the pages plays a pivotal role in telling the story. Each turn reveals something new in a way that builds on the image on the previous page. Now that I'm an illustrator myself, I've often thought about this dramatic storytelling device and all of its creative possibilities.

My new book, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, is a 550 page novel in words and pictures. But unlike most novels, the images in my new book don't just illustrate the story; they help tell it. I've used the lessons I learned from Remy Charlip and other masters of the picture book to create something that is not a exactly a novel, not quite a picture book, not really a graphic novel, or a flip book or a movie, but a combination of all these things.

I began thinking about this book ten years ago after seeing some of the magical films of Georges Méliès, the father of science-fiction movies. But it wasn't until I read a book called Edison's Eve: The Quest for Mechanical Life by Gaby Woods that my story began to come into focus. I discovered that Méliès had a collection of mechanical, wind-up figures (called automata) that were donated to a museum, but which were later destroyed and thrown away. Instantly, I imagined a boy discovering these broken, rusty machines in the garbage, stealing one and attempting to fix it. At that moment, Hugo Cabret was born.

A few years ago, I had the honor of meeting Remy Charlip, and I'm proud to say that we've become friends. Last December he was asking me what I was working on, and as I was describing this book to him, I realized that Remy looks exactly like Georges Méliès. I excitedly asked him to pose as the character in my book, and fortunately, he said yes. So every time you see Méliès in The Invention of Hugo Cabret, the person you are really looking at is my dear friend Remy Charlip, who continues to inspire everyone who has the great pleasure of knowing him or seeing his work.

Paris in the 1930's, a thief, a broken machine, a strange girl, a mean old man, and the secrets that tie them all together... Welcome to The Invention of Hugo Cabret.


Brian Selznick Exclusive

Brian Selznick on a "Deleted Scene" from The Invention of Hugo Cabret

This is a finished drawing that I had to cut from The Invention of Hugo Cabret. I was still rewriting the book when I had to begin the final art. There was originally a scene in the story where this character, Etienne, is working in a camera shop. On one of my research trips to Paris I spent an entire day visiting old camera shops and photographing cameras from the 1930's and earlier, as well as the facades of the shops themselves. I researched original French camera posters and made sure that the counter and the shelves were accurate to the time period. I did all the drawings in the book at 1/4 scale, so they were very small and I often had to use a magnifying glass to help me see what I was drawing. After I finished this drawing I continued to rewrite, and for various reasons I realized that I needed to move this scene from the camera shop to the French Film Academy, which meant that I had to cut this picture. I tried really hard to find ANOTHER moment when I could have Etienne in a camera shop, but, as painful as it was, I knew the picture had to go. I'm glad to see it up on the Amazon website because otherwise no one would have ever seen all those tiny cameras I researched and drew so carefully!

--Brian Selznick

More from Brian Selznick

The Houdini Box

Walt Whitman: Words for America

The Boy of a Thousand Faces

release date: May 05, 2008
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The House in the Night
Winner of the 2008 Caldecott Medal! A spare, patterned text and glowing pictures explore the origins of light that make a house a home in this bedtime book for young children. Naming nighttime things that are both comforting and intriguing to preschoolers—a key, a bed, the moon—this timeless book illuminates a reassuring order to the universe.
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release date: Oct 01, 2010
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The Lion & the Mouse
In award-winning artist Jerry Pinkney's wordless adaptation of one of Aesop's most beloved fables, an unlikely pair learn that no act of kindness is ever wasted. After a ferocious lion spares a cowering mouse that he'd planned to eat, the mouse later comes to his rescue, freeing him from a poacher's trap. With vivid depictions of the landscape of the African Serengeti and expressively-drawn characters, Pinkney makes this a truly special retelling, and his stunning pictures speak volumes.
release date: May 25, 2010
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A Sick Day for Amos McGee
The Best Sick Day Ever and the animals in the zoo feature in this striking picture book debut.
Friends come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. In Amos McGee's case, all sorts of species, too! Every day he spends a little bit of time with each of his friends at the zoo, running races with the tortoise, keeping the shy penguin company, and even reading bedtime stories to the owl. But when Amos is too sick to make it to the zoo, his animal friends decide it's time they returned the favor. Review

THE BEST SICK DAY EVER and the animals in the zoo feature in this striking picture book debut.
Friends come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. In Amos McGee's case, all sorts of species, too! Every day he spends a little bit of time with each of his friends at the zoo, running races with the tortoise, keeping the shy penguin company, and even reading bedtime stories to the owl. But when Amos is too sick to make it to the zoo, his animal friends decide it's time they returned the favor.

A Look Inside A Sick Day for Amos McGee
(Click on Images to Enlarge)

"Hooray! My friends are here!" Taking the bus to see Amos
The elephant prepared a game of chess. The penguin sat quietly, keeping Amos's feet warm.

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release date: May 10, 2011
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A Ball for Daisy
Winner of the 2012 Randolph Caldecott Medal

This New York Times Bestseller and New York Times Best Illustrated Book relates a story about love and loss as only Chris Rashcka can tell it. Any child who has ever had a beloved toy break will relate to Daisy's anguish when her favorite ball is destroyed by a bigger dog. In the tradition of his nearly wordless picture book Yo! Yes?, Caldecott Medalist Chris Raschka explores in pictures the joy and sadness that having a special toy can bring. Raschka's signature swirling, impressionistic illustrations and his affectionate story will particularly appeal to young dog lovers and teachers and parents who have children dealing with the loss of something special.
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