The American Library Association announced its slate of 2016 awards this month which means it's time to share the updated list of Caldecott winners for anyone who wants to tackle their own Caldecott challenge! This remains one of our favorite reading projects to date. Maybe someday I will decide to work through all the Newbery winners : ) I'm still not quite over Echo winning an Honor this year instead of the big prize, which went to a picture book: Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña. I'm sure it's great, and we will read it at some point this year. But still. Matt thinks it's funny that I got so spun up over this. Ha.
But oh, the Caldecott winner! We ADORE Sophie Blackall in this house—it's hard to pick a favorite that she's illustrated; maybe a toss-up between the Ivy & Bean series and the Wild Boars books, which are hilarious. We had not yet read Finding Winnie when it was announced but I ordered it the second the announcement was made. It will no doubt go down as one of the best picture book acquisitions of the year. We loved it.
A disclaimer: I've always liked Winnie the Pooh just fine. I've never had a crazy-for-Pooh phase, nor have any of the girls—we like him, though. (Him! First thing I learned: Winnie was not a "him!"). I've always thought it was really interesting that A.A. Milne wrote such hard-hitting World War I poetry but switched gears and became famous for his children's stories instead. Beyond that, I really had no idea about any of the details about how Winnie the Pooh came to be, or even that it was based on an actual bear. The story itself is so hard to fathom—that this bear existed, how she traveled overseas, that A.A. Milne's grandson actually played inside her enclosure at the zoo—little bits of unbelievable are doled out over the entire story. I won't ruin it for you here, but the last bit of "what!!" took me by absolute surprise (related to how I never predict things in grown-up books, etiher, no doubt). It would have been great simply told in picture book format, but the historical photographs included in the album are a priceless addition. It's an amazing story and wow, was Lindsay Mattick ever the author who needed to tell it.