Caldecott Roundup! The 1990s

Updated: Aug 6, 2020

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 sixth set winners, from 1990-1999. Do you recognize any of them?

1990 "Lon Po Po" illustrated and retold by Ed Young

In this Chinese version of the classic fairy tale, a mother leaves her three children home alone while she goes to visit their grandmother. They are then visited by a wolf pretending to be their Po Po, or granny, but they are not fooled.


1991 "Black and White" illustrated and written by David Macaulay

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?


1992 "Tuesday" illustrated and written by David Wiesner

The whimsical account of a Tuesday when frogs were airborne on their lily pads will enchant readers of all ages.


1993 "Mirette on the High Wire" illustrated and written by Emily Arnold McCully

Mirette was always fascinated by the strange and interesting people who stayed in her mother's boardinghouse. But no one excited her as much as Bellini, who walks the clothesline with the grace and ease of a bird. When Mirette discovers that fear has kept him from performing for years, she knows she must repay him for the kindness he has shown her — and show him that sometimes a student can be the greatest teacher of all.


1994 "Grandfather's Journey" illustrated and written by Allen Say

This tale of one man’s love for two countries and his constant desire to be in both places, as he goes between Japan and the United States over the course of his life.


1995 "Smoky Night" illustrated by David Diaz and written by Eve Bunting

In a night of rioting, Daniel and his mother are forced to leave their apartment for the safety of a shelter. “Diaz has not been afraid to take risks in illustrating the story with thickly textured paintings against a background of torn-paper and found-object collage. Without becoming cluttered or gimmicky, these pictures manage to capture a calamitous atmosphere that finally calms. . . . Both author and artist have managed to portray a politically charged event without pretense or preaching.” The Bulletin


1996 "Officer Buckle and Gloria" illustrated and written by Peggy Rathmann

Officer Buckle, a mustachioed policeman who wears a crossed-out-banana-peel patch on his sleeve, has a passion for teaching students about safety, but his audiences tend to doze off during his lectures. They awaken, however, when police dog Gloria joins Buckle onstage. As Buckle speaks, Gloria-behind Buckle's back-mimes each safety lesson (e.g., leaping sky-high for "Never leave a thumbtack where you might sit on it!" and making her fur stand on end to illustrate "Do not go swimming during electrical storms!"). School safety increases tenfold and Buckle and Gloria find themselves in great demand. But when he finally learns of his sidekick's secret sideshow, Buckle's feelings are terribly hurt.


1997 "Golem" illustrated and retold by David Wisniewski

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.


1998 "Rapunzel" illustrated and retold by Paul O. Zelinsky

Surely among the most original and gifted of children's book illustrators, Paul O. Zelinsky has once again with unmatched emotional authority, control of space, and narrative capability brought forth a unique vision for an age-old tale. Zelinsky's retelling of Rapunzel reaches back beyond the Grimms to a late-seventeenth-century French tale by Mlle. la Force, who based hers on the Neapolitan tale Petrosinella in a collection popular at the time.


1999 "Snowflake Bentley" illustrated by Mary Azarian and written by Jacqueline Briggs Martin

"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.

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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