Caldecott Roundup! 1950s

The Caldecott Medal 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 the American Library Association, to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children. 


The Caldecott Medal has been given out annually since 1938, and many of the recipients have been favorites ever since!


Here is the second set of winners, from 1950-59. Do you recognize any of them?

1950 "Song of the Swallows" illustrated and written by Leo Politi

Every summer, the swallows leave San Juan Capistrano and fly far away, to a peaceful green island-but they always come back in the spring, on St. Joseph's Day. Juan loves las golondrinas, and so does his friend, Julian, the gardener at the mission. This year Juan plants a garden in his own yard. There's nothing he wants more than for the swallows to nest there. And on St. Joseph's Day, his dream comes true.


1951 "The Egg Tree" illustrated and written by Katherine Milhous

One Easter morning, Katy and Carl went on an Easter egg hunt through Grandmom's house. Katy couldn't find anything until she went up to the attic. And there she discovered a very special set of eggs... Grandmom had painted them when she was a little girl. And now, she hung them from the branches of a tiny tree an egg tree! So began a very special Easter tradition.


1952 "Finders Keepers" illustrated by Nicolas (Nicholas Mordvinoff) and written by Will (William Lipkind)

Two dogs find one bone and have difficulty deciding which of them owns it. “Here is a perfect combination of rollicking story and pictures that have strength, life and humor in every line.” The Horn Book


1953 "The Biggest Bear" illustrated and written by Lynd Ward

Johnny goes hunting for a bearskin to hang on his family's barn and returns with a small bundle of trouble.


1954 "Madeline's Rescue" illustrated and written by Lloyd Bemelmans

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. 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.


1955 "Cinderella" illustrated and translated by Marcia Brown; original text by Charles Perrault

Even in rags, Cinderella is a hundred times more beautiful than her cruel stepsisters. And how she wishes to go to the prince’s ball! But her sisters delight in telling her that people would only laugh at her at the palace. Fortunately, Cinderella is blessed with a fairy godmother who can turn pumpkins into golden coaches, lizards into footmen, and rags into riches. At the ball, Cinderella will have the most thrilling night of her life — until the stroke of midnight! A magical adaptation Charles Perrault’s French classic.


1956 "Frog Went A-Courtin'" illustrated by Feodor Rojankovsky and retold by John Langstaff

“A favorite old nursery ballad now appears in resplendent new dress. . . . Illustrator Feodor Rojankovsky somehow manages to combine quaintness with sophistication and his doughty frog, the coy mouse . . . and others make charming company.” The New York Times Book Review


1957 "A Tree is Nice" illustrated by Marc Simont and written by Janice Udry

"Trees are very nice," says Janice May Udry in her first book for children. She goes on to explain that even one tree is nice, if it is the only one you happen to have. Some of the reasons why trees are so good to have around are funny. Some are indisputable facts. But in all of them there is a sense of poetic simplicity and beauty which will be sure to entrance any young child. Whether they know one tree or many, they will relish the descriptions of the delights to be had in, with, or under a tree.


1958 "Time of Wonder" illustrated and written by Robert McCloskey

"Out on the islands that poke their rocky shores above the waters of Penobscot Bay, you can watch the time of the world go by, from minute to minute, hour to hour, from day to day..." So begins this classic story of one summer on a Maine island from the author of One Morning in Maine and Blueberries for Sal. The spell of rain, the gulls and a foggy morning, the excitement of sailing, the quiet of the night, the sudden terror of a hurricane, and, in the end, the peace of the island as the family packs up to leave are shown in poetic language and vibrant, evocative pictures.


1959 "Chanticleer and the Fox" illustrated and adapted by Barbara Cooney; original text from Chaucer's Canterbury Tales

King of the barnyard, Chanticleer struts about all day. When a fox bursts into his domain, dupes him into crowing, and then grabs him in a viselike grip, Chanticleer must do some quick thinking to save himself and his barnyard kingdom.

Some of these books are available at the Swanton Public Library. If you are interested in reading one that we don't have, we can definitely order a copy!


We'll continue rounding up the Caldecotts by decade until we reach today. Stay tuned!


Descriptions adapted from GoodReads and Amazon.

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